Interested in hosting your own Apps4Good hackathon?

An Apps4Good hackathon is similar to a traditional hackathon, however there are a few key differences which result in more ideas, happier teams and better apps.

Traditional Hackathon

The overall group separates into smaller teams, each team individually brainstorming ideas. Teams vote and decide on their favorite idea. This is common technique however it has a number of drawbacks.

One, the selected idea may not have been everyone’s first choice, which means some people end up working on something they are not really passionate about.

Two, the brainstorming happens in small teams focussing on selecting only one idea which limits the overall number of ideas.

Apps4Good Hackathon

The entire group brainstorms ideas together, posting all ideas on the wall. After all ideas have been collected, similar ideas are grouped together. The grouping process helps identify the unique ideas.

As an entire group, each idea is evaluated based on a set criteria. For example, has it been done before, is it useful, would people use it, is it fun, is it solving a real problem. The evaluation helps weed out the not-so-good ideas.

Next each idea is rated on a scale of 1 to 5. The rating process results in the good ideas rising to the top. Finally, everyone selects the one idea they would like to work on that weekend. The voting process naturally leads to the formation of teams around ideas, rather than an idea from a team. This way everyone ends up working on something they are really excited about, which means happier teams and better apps.

  1. Brainstorm – post all ideas on the wall
  2. Group – combine similar ideas together
  3. Evaluate – evaluate each idea based on a set of criteria
  4. Rate – rate each idea giving it a score
  5. Vote – each person votes on their favorite idea

These five steps are done together with the entire group, and the end result is teams naturally forming around the best ideas. Often those ‘ah-ha!’ moments come from hearing and building on another’s idea, so it’s an asset having everyone involved in the brainstorm process. It’s also important to remember all ideas, because they can serve as a good starting point for the next event.

Checkout the Schedule page for a rough breakdown of the two day hackathon.