// Hackaton 101

When will the Hackathon run?

The Hackathon will run over two days: from 9am to 6pm on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September. A launch event will take place on Friday 18th at 4pm.

What is a Hackathon?

Hacking is creative problem solving (it does not have to involve technology). A hackathon is any event of any duration where people come together to solve problems.

For this event, individuals will work in teams over a weekend to create prototype solutions to a particular challenge.

How will the Hackathon work?

Participants will choose to work on one of the challenges listed. They will then work in a team to create a solution to this challenge.

Friday's event will be a chance for participants and mentors to find out how the Hackathon will run, what online tools we are using and how to ask for help if needed.

The Hackathon will start with a welcome and introduction on Saturday 19th September at 9am, with our first day ending at 6pm. You are able to continue working if you wish, but we encourage you all to take a break for the evening..Sunday 20th September will begin at 9am with updates and news and you can continue working on your solutions until the deadline for your submissions by 6pm.

We have scheduled several ‘check-ins’ throughout the weekend should you wish to join us back all together with progress updates. We will also be running feedback sessions so you can pitch your ideas so far and get feedback from your peers, encouraging collaboration and enabling you to iterate your solutions quicker.

Over the weekend the teams will work on developing their ideas and by the end, they will submit a 2 minute video explaining their idea and demonstrating their prototype.

We will end with a celebration, thanking you for all your hard work!

The judges will then get to work assessing the best solutions from the Hackathon. An event will take place on Thursday 1st October to announce the winners and prizes to support the teams beyond the Hackathon.

// Why run a BuildBackBetter Hackathon?

What is this Hackathon trying to achieve?

The hackathon is designed to present themes that capture the main issues facing our world now, outline specific challenges within those themes, and generate prototype solutions to those challenges. We also hope to be able to create and fundraise to be able to incubate the best of these solutions in the coming months and years after the hackathon.

Hackathon themes

The Hackathon has a number of overarching issues that we want participants to work on. These include health, future of work, sustainable communities, circular economy, education, hard hit sectors, food security, social care and homelessness. More information can be found here.

Hackathon Challenges

Challenges are more specific than themes, but will fall within them. For example, for the theme ‘Build a Healthier Society for All’, one of the challenges is ‘How can people help a loved one or friend to better engage with their health via diet and lifestyle?’

What will success look like for the Hackathon?

We are aiming to create long-term, scalable solutions to social and environmental challenges.

// Participating in the Hackathon (Participants)

Do I have to have a particular background?

No, we welcome people from a wide range of backgrounds, who simply share the desire to build a better future. No previous knowledge or skills are required.

Can I join alone?

Yes. While we accept team sign-ups, many are joining individually and you will be able to join our Slack group a few days prior to start introducing yourself and meet potential teammates and other participants.

Do I need to have an idea?

No. Whatever challenge you decide to solve, you will have the weekend to brainstorm and develop ideas as a team.

I have an idea but no team, can I join?

Yes! We will help everyone find teams to work with. However, please keep in mind that working in teams is about collaboration - therefore be open to iterate, refine or completely change your idea as a result of the team’s collective effort.

Is there a size-limit for teams?

No. You can work on an idea in a team of any size. However, we recommend forming teams of 3 to 6 people, so that ideas can be exchanged and work can be shared, but communication and collaboration remain manageable.

I cannot be online for the entire weekend, can I still join?

We appreciate that everyone has different commitments and capacity. While we do recommend to plan and spend the weekend working on a solution, we welcome all contributions. You can join a team to help part-time, as long as you communicate your availability with the team - or browse around to help teams spontaneously as they need help.

What kind of support will we receive?

Teams will receive support from a mentor and other advisors on hand. On occasion, the facilitators will ask questions to help you innovate and prototype new solutions for your chosen challenge. We will also provide you with guidance tools and videos to help you prototype and pitch your idea.

I'm under 18. Can I take part?

Yes, as long as you have a parent or guardian who consents and is present at all time during the event.

How will the winning projects be chosen?

Please refer to the submission requirements, prizes and judging criteria on our Devpost page.

// Organising the Hackathon (Partners & Mentors)

Who is organising the Hackathon?

The first organisation to initiate the Hackathon was Impact Hub King’s Cross, and has quickly grown in size to include many others including Junxion Strategy, GoDaddy, SynSapien, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Expert Impact, the Food Ethics Council, Devpost, Nabta Health, Helicon Health, Social Enterprise Mark CIC, Renaisi, with others on the way! Find out more about Partnerships here.

What role do mentors play in the hackathon?

We have two kinds of mentors supporting teams at the BuildBackBetter hackathon.

  • Theme Experts: these are people with deep knowledge of the areas addressed by the nine themes: health, future of work, sustainable communities, rebooting & greening hardest hit sectors, food, sustainable production & responsible consumption, education, social care, housing & homeslessness.
  • Crosscutting experts: these are people who have a deep understanding of an area of expertise that is relevant to all the teams. This includes: diversity & inclusion, change management, user experience and product design and management, pitching.

    You will be able to connect with Mentors throughout the weekend and book in sessions with both theme experts and cross-cutting experts.

    In the build up to the hackathon, Mentors can help shape it. On the day, your job is to guide the team(s) through the hackathon, and help them succeed. Your role involves:

    • Helping the teams brainstorm ideas
    • Giving advice on the topic that you are qualified in or skilled at
    • Keeping an eye on the time (the schedule is quite intense)
    • Helping identify and allocate roles inside the team
    • If your team gets stuck, getting them moving again
    • Supporting the team to get their pitch ready.

    Ideally, you will be around for most of the event. While you don't need to be present for the whole time to provide the best support to the teams it would be great to have you on board as much as possible.

    There will be an opportunity to continue to support the team(s) you have been working with if they are selected for the incubator programme.

    If this is of interest to you and you think you’ve got the expertise to help make this Hackathon a success, head to the Mentor Page and help us #BuildBackBetter!