Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Making a Better Hackerthon

At the moment I am in the post event meeting of Lead Mentors for the  joint hackathon to Secure Supply Chains for the Australian and NZ Defence Forces. The Slack communications tool used used for the event and worked well, but it has taken me about four such events to get used to it.  Here some suggestions I offered, which may be applicable to other hackerthons:

  1. Canberra start-up "OK RDY" have an app for connecting people with mentors. I mentored the project team when they won the Innovation ACT competition. There are a few products like this. Perhaps one could be used for the hackerthons.
  2. It might be useful to also have a hurdle where mentors have to sign up to Slack in advance. The idea would be to filter out the people who are very clever, and important, but might not get around to actually participating. 
  3. Coaches not lead mentors: Rather than having someone administratively in charge of a group of mentors, have people to provide advice. I took on the Coach role for GovHack 2017.
  4. For team building, something like the ANU TechLauncher process could be used. Each person with a project idea gives a very brief pitch. Those interested then sign up. The organisers then check there are not too few or too many, and do some rearrangement.
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