Hackathons have grown in popularity as a means of innovation and idea development for companies and organisations in recent years. The development of virtual and online technology has made it possible to organise hackathons online, enabling competitors from around the globe to cooperate. Online and virtual hackathons have numerous benefits, but they also present special difficulties for sponsors and organisers. For sponsors and organisers, we will discuss these issues in this post and offer solutions.
The Advantages of Virtual and Online Hackathons
Hackathons that are held online or virtually have many advantages for sponsors and organisers. For instance:
- Greater access to participants: By holding a virtual or online hackathon, sponsors and organisers can draw participants from all over the world, boosting the diversity and originality of the ideas generated.
- cheaper prices: Since there are no venue or travel fees involved, online and virtual hackathons frequently have cheaper costs than in-person events.
- Flexibility: Because virtual and online hackathons can last for days or even weeks, participants are free to work on their projects at their own pace and on their own schedule.
- Improved cooperation: Teams may easily connect and work together even when they are located in various regions of the world thanks to online collaboration tools and platforms.
Sponsor and organiser challenges
Online and virtual hackathons have numerous advantages, but they also present special difficulties for sponsors and organisers. Several of these difficulties include:
- Technical difficulties are one of the major obstacles to online and virtual hackathons. It may be challenging for participants to engage if they have issues with their internet connection, hardware, or software.
- Time zone differences: Scheduling events, workshops, and other activities can be difficult since participants may be spread out over multiple time zones.
- Participant motivation: In a virtual or online situation, it might be difficult to keep people motivated. Participants may feel distracted or detached if there is no face-to-face interaction like there would be at an in-person event.
- Intellectual property issues: Sponsors and organisers of online and virtual hackathons may face intellectual property issues. Participants might use exclusive data or technology without authorization, which might result in legal problems.
Organisers’ and Sponsors’ Options
Sponsors and organisers can put into practise a number of methods to address the difficulties associated with online and virtual hackathons:
- Provide technical support: To assist participants in resolving any technical issues they may run into, sponsors and organisers should offer technical support. This can involve supplying troubleshooting manuals, technical support by email or chat, or even online technical support.
- Prepare for time zone differences: Sponsors and organisers should schedule events, workshops, and other activities so that people from various time zones can attend. This can entail assigning events to different times of the day or videotaping events so that attendees can watch them afterwards.
- Maintain participant motivation: Sponsors and organisers should employ a number of strategies and instruments to maintain participant motivation. This can involve organising virtual social gatherings, providing incentives and rewards, and communicating frequently.
- Clarify intellectual property rights: In order to prevent legal problems, sponsors and organisers should make sure that participants are aware of the guidelines for using confidential information and proprietary technology.
Factors to take into account while planning online and virtual hackathons:
- Select the appropriate platform: There are numerous online collaboration tools accessible, so it’s critical to pick one that works for your hackathon. Slack, Zoom, and Google Meet are a few of the most well-liked choices.
- Make sure there is clear communication: Effective communication is essential to the success of any hackathon, but it is especially crucial in a virtual environment. Make sure to provide participants thorough directions, timetables, and rules, and be accessible to answer any queries they may have.
- Mentorship and support should be provided because those who participate in online and virtual hackathons may feel alone or overwhelmed. This can entail delivering support for mental health and wellbeing as well as access to mentors or subject matter experts.
- Promote inclusiveness and diversity: Online and virtual hackathons provide the chance to draw participants from all around the world. By actively contacting underrepresented groups and offering them tools and support to help them participate, you may promote diversity and inclusion.
For sponsors and organisers, online and virtual hackathons have a number of advantages, including access to a wider participant pool, reduced expenses, flexibility, and enhanced teamwork. They do, however, also have their own particular hurdles, such as technical issues, time zone differences, participant participation, and intellectual property issues. Sponsors and organisers may overcome these difficulties and guarantee the success of their online and virtual hackathons by putting into practise solutions like offering technical support, scheduling for time zone changes, keeping participants involved, and defining intellectual property rights.
Additionally, sponsors and organisers must be receptive to participant comments and use it to enhance subsequent hackathons. Hackathons that take place online and virtually are still a relatively new idea, so there is always space for development. Sponsors and organisers may make sure that their hackathons remain profitable and valuable by paying attention to participants’ demands and preferences.
In conclusion, online and virtual hackathons provide sponsors and organisers with a singular chance to innovate and create new concepts. Despite the difficulties they present, these can be addressed with the correct preparation, assistance, and communication. Online and virtual hackathons are set to grow in popularity in the future as the world becomes more digital and linked, making it even more crucial for sponsors and organisers to comprehend and manage the problems they offer.
Mercer | Mettl is a global online assessment platform that offers a wide range of services, including online hackathons. As a leader in the assessment industry, Mercer Mettl has experience in organising and supporting online and virtual hackathons for a variety of industries and purposes.
One of the benefits of using Mercer Mettl for online hackathons is their customizable platform. Sponsors and organisers can choose from a range of features and tools to create a unique and engaging experience for their participants. These features can include customised challenges and problem statements, real-time analytics and feedback, and automated evaluation and scoring.