Hack the Process
Hackathons are a popular way for developers to come together and hack on mobile and web apps, in hopes of winning prizes and getting noticed for their innovation. Silicon Valley has done a great job of keeping hackathons about building apps, but there are many other ways to apply the hackathon model.
One hackathon model that I’ve seen a couple times now, is more about hacking a process, rather than hacking an app. A hackathon where any company, organization or individual can come, with their existing process, and walk participants through what they are looking to accomplish--with the goal of making it better.
The process could be anything they already do on a regular basis and are looking to optimize, or a new process they would like to develop. In our ever-increasing digital world, where Software as a Service (SaaS) and APIs are becoming commonplace in our daily lives, there is an need for constantly identifying, refining and establishing new processes.
APIs open up huge opportunities for more efficient ways of getting things done, and a hackathon is a great way to pitch a process to a bunch of new users, form teams and spend some time hacking together a more efficient way to get it done. The objective of this form of the hackathon is to refine a process and help make it better, using technology to better solve the problems we deal with every day.
While building apps is a great focus of a hackathon, they might be better used to help people gain efficiencies at their companies and organizations--allowing them to get access to creative new approaches, and knowledge about other potential tools and platforms they can put to use.
I predict hackathons will continue to grow in popularity, and hopefully we can continue to evolve them to reach the widest possible audience.