Hackathon - Broaden your horizons with an intensive programme

A Hackathon is an intensive camp where students get down to some intense geeking to come up with creative solutions. The camp lasts for a very short period of time, during which the students drop everything to focus 100% solely on your company's case or problem.

By Sune Holst, , 3/8/2019

This article begins by going back to October last year. Then, 32 students from SDU Sønderborg and Business Academy Southwest set aside 48 hours to completely dedicate themselves to finding proposals for how LINAK could in the future connect the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) to the products the company provides for offices and other professional workplaces, such as hospitals.

These are young people in their twenties who could have been out drinking beer and dancing, but instead they dragged their sleeping bags and coffee along to Alsion to work on finding solutions relating to new technologies and digitalisation in the homes of the future.

- You have come up with ideas that we ourselves have touched on, but also ideas that we would never have thought of in our wildest dreams. You deserve great praise for that. Some of them are realistic, others show great creativity, and then there are those which we could actually implement right away, said Vice CEO of LINAK, Thomas J. Morrison, at the time.

HACKATHON 2018 was the first of its kind, but with its great success in mind, the plan is to make it an annual event. Business Consultant for SDU Frekerik Gottlieb says that this is a concept that the University wishes to offer to companies and students in order to create even more innovation and collaboration in the region.

What is a Hackathon?

The word ’hackathon’ has been introduced in the IT world as a melting of ’hack’ and ’marathon’. Since then and due to its success, the principle has been extended to be a special innovation workshop, during which a team of selected participants who have competences in particular specialist fields collaborate on finding a solution to a problem or a case presented by a company.

In recent years, the term "hackathon" has become an accepted term for a way companies and organisations have to create innovation. The term hackathon describes an intensive programme that solves a business case or a creative challenge. The participants in a hackathon work in teams and use a wide range of competences to solve the challenge they are presented with.

The SDU Hackathon programme

But you may well ask yourself what a hackathon is. A hackathon facilitated by SDU is your opportunity to tackle a problem from a fresh perspective. We put together a team of 20-40 participants (students, professionals, etc.) with different competences in design, technology and innovation. The participants meet on a Friday afternoon, when they are presented with a case or challenge from your company or organisation. After this, a number of smaller teams are put together, who have access to advanced workshops and sparring from experts to develop the best and most innovative solution for the case within 24-48 hours.

A hackathon concludes with judging the best solution proposal, which is selected based on the value the concept creates for you. The final concept is delivered in a presentation, along with a concept demonstrator/prototype and a video the participants have produced during the programme.

What does my company get out of a hackathon with SDU?

Research and many years of experience show that innovation thrives best in interdisciplinary teams who can approach an abstract problem from different angles. Using methods from design, innovation management and entrepreneurship, we facilitate a programme where the innovation process is accelerated.

- 8-14 unique concepts aimed at your problems.
- Concepts you can use to trailblaze in new business areas.
- Network and collaborate with the future's developers from both the University and the business community.

A hackathon with SDU can be arranged in collaboration with several other organisations and companies. This provides the opportunity for exciting contributions and the chance to attract many different competences to solve your exact problem. If you are interested in hearing more, contact Frederik Gottlieb on tel: +45 6550 1618 or email: frede@mci.sdu.dk.