Hackathons Deconstructed: Designing Richer & More Rewarding Event Innovation Experiences
That’s the title for a one-of-a-kind workshop experience that combines behind-the-scenes hackathon design education with a series of actual hands-on hacking sprints. This PCMA weekend workshop immediately precedes their 2018 Education Conference June 10-13 in Cleveland. Think of it as the “warm up act” for the June 10th Opening Reception bash at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The hackathon kicks off Saturday evening, June 9th with a Meet & Greet reception at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown and continues Sunday June 10th from 9am to 3pm at the state-of-the-art HIMSS Innovation Center – a perfect environment for unleashing creative thinking.
Jamie Murdock, VP of Sales at Experient will be hosting and I’m thrilled to be his co-host for this brainstorming adventure, where teams will move through a series of discussions and activities, as they strive to solve an industry challenge within one of these three categories:
- Learning Experience Design
- Marketing & Attendance/Revenue Growth
- Recruiting and Fostering High Performing Teams
We’ll wrap up with solution pitches and one team will be crowned hacking champs, with a $500 prize awarded to each member of the winning team.
Making this an even richer learning experience, at various points, we’ll pull back the curtain to reveal the WHY behind hackathon design decisions. Between the two of us, we’ve designed more than a dozen successful hackathons and we’ll candidly share what worked, what didn’t, and the hacks we’ve made along the way.
Why a Hackathon?
Hackathons tap the collective wisdom of a crowd to solve complex problems in unorthodox ways. It’s a forum wired for high-throttle collaboration, where we suspend disbelief and explore “What if?” possibilities to find the next breakthrough idea.
With learning and networking being the two top reasons triggering most decisions to attend professional conferences, this hackathon format delivers soundly on both counts.
Now, think about your conferences – you’ve already done much of the heavy lifting by gathering the best and brightest in your industry. And every industry has a few problems they’d like to solve, right?
When members, attendees, and/or employees feel like they’re part of the solution, there are huge dividends to be enjoyed. Best of all, it’s a smart way to foster stronger peer-to-peer relationships and loyalty, while solving a major challenge for your industry.
Yet the road map for designing a successful hackathon hasn’t been charted out in detail – until now.
Last Year’s Business Breakthrough Incubator
For those who attended last year’s PCMA Education Conference in NYC, you may recall watching three teams of innovators compete in the Business Breakthrough Incubator (BBI).
Remember the Closing General Session, where a representative from each team shared their three-minute “Shark Tank” pitch on the main stage?
Here are a few things you didn’t see on the main stage:
- These teams participated in three one-hour collaboration sprints to arrive at their best solution.
- As BBI facilitator, I circulated from team to team and the ideas they were generating were amazing.
- For the final round, each team could recruit a “new brain” to join them and help fine-tune their solution pitch. That final round was my favorite, as the exchanges were even richer.
Keep in mind, these teams didn’t know one another coming into this experience, but by the time they hit the finish line, they were great friends. One team bonded so tightly, they wanted to stand behind the person delivering their pitch on the main stage to support her.
How often do you see connections like that happening in the span of a single conferences?
Seating for this PCMA Hackathon is limited and we’d love to have you join us. If you’re intrigued, please email Jamie at Jamie.Murdock@experient-inc.com for more details or to request a seat.
Next week, watch for an interview with Jamie, where he shares more about why he’s so passionate about this hackathon format and the positive impact these events are already having on participants.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this video preview from last year’s BBI hackathon to whet your appetite for an even richer idea discovery session in Cleveland.