Hackathon 3.0

I feel concerned with the hackathon climate in Sweden right now. I keep hearing comments about Hackathons being flawed, while I don't think hackathons are perfect the reasons that are often mentioned to highlight the imperfections are in my opinion quite inaccurate.

The flaws that are often mentioned are:

I don't share this point of view. From my perspective these are not issues with Hackathons. For me a Hackathon is something different.

I believe that Hackathons are great because:

Hackathons and Solutions

A Hackathon does not always need to arrive at a final solution. Often it is enough to raise attention around a certain problem and develop plausible solutions that can be taken to the next level by the society.

Hackathon is a marathon of hacking, no one would ask a sports-star to solve an issue with low milk price in the framing business in Sweden. But they are often expected to inspire and be a role model for future generations. I believe that hackathons should be an inspiration for others rather than the final solution.

In my experience issues often are not technical, usually the problem is in our minds, here are some examples:

The trains in Sweden had a top speed of 90 Km/h early on but were limited to 40 km/h because politicians believed that the speed would be harmful.

Internet was not promoted by Telia (Swedish state telecom company) in the beginning because they did not believe it was the future, and created their own product instead. Tele2 did and was a part of swipnet, the beginning of IP networks in Sweden.

When 46elks was created it was extremely hard to have SMS, Voice & MMS over the internet sent to any application. And this was not mainly due to technical reasons - it took years to get the agreements with the operators but just months to get the service running.

My conclusion is that the issues often only require relatively small amount of work from developers. Instead the big part is often the bureaucracy in trying to explain to the general society what needs to be done in a given situation.

What could Hackathon 3.0 be?

Vinova will announce development funds for improving the Hackations in Sweden. Vinova is an agency that is created to support innovations is Sweden.

I'm also a teacher by profession and all I have learnt, when it comes to how the mind works, tells me that it is super important that hackathons are kept as an open event and are not turned into a forced way of creating a company.

I believe that Hackathons would have the best role in innovations by supporting the community through networking and providing a commonplace for learning new technology. And most importantly show how we can improve the environment we live in without slow bureaucratic systems limiting us

Written 2016-06-28 by Martin Harari Thuresson