What’s it like to run a Hackathon?

Oneflare’s 4th hackathon is fast approaching (October 31st -> November 2nd), so I thought it’d be a neat idea to give you a peak behind the curtain to see what’s involved in organising and running a successful hackathon! 

I’ve been lucky enough to help organise the last 2 hackathons at Oneflare. Typically, we’ll start planning a few months out. The first thing we’ll do is gather together and decide a theme. Because of the timing of the upcoming one, a “Spooky” theme seemed to make the most sense. 

With the date picked, and theme chosen, we’ll then think of a few tag lines to go with it. Our last hackathons tagline, Our Perfect Future, was chosen because we wanted to challenge the team to think about the not-so-distant future. “What does Oneflare 2020 look like?”. That kind of thing. 

Some alternative taglines were “Future Perfect”, “What comes next…”, “Welcome to the world of tomorrow”, and just “Oneflare 2020”.

Once the tag lines are picked (and full of puns, hopefully), we’ll then create a vision board of all the design elements we’d like to hit. 

For Our Perfect Future, this included a lot of vaporware, seapunk, 90’s futurism, and heaps of purple shades. We’ll provide this, along with the kind of feeling we’re going for, to our design team. For the last 2 hackathons, the super-talented Chobe cooked up the designs for us!

We’ll then get a ton of posters and stickers printed! You can always pick out a Oneflare developer by the amount of Ignite stickers they have on their laptops!

Typical Oneflare developers laptop

Simultaneously in the background, our super talented and wonderful HR/Office Manager, Laken, begins doing all the heavy lifting, organisation wise. She plans out the lunches for the hackathon (which are all provided for the entire Oneflare and UrbanYou family), she orders tons and tons of snacks, decorations, as well providing plenty of drinks for the hackathon showcase. 

At around 2 weeks prior, we spin up the Ideas Board. In the past, we’ve relied on a google doc where people would pop in their ideas, and then teams would form, and so on. But some of the feedback we’ve received in the past is that the board wasn’t visible enough, and that other people who weren’t necessarily R&D wanted to also pitch ideas. So this year, we decided to make the idea board physical and public!

I’d put an image of that board here, but hey, we need to keep some things a surprise! 

By this point, almost everything is ready! We have some really creative ideas coming through, our office is nice and decorated, the pizza is ordered, the beer is chilling.

All that’s left is the hacking. 

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