Breakout Session: Communication & Engagement

This breakout will focus on “how to” communicate and strengthen engagement (before, during, and after a hackathon)

Facilitators or a volunteer from the group will report out (4:00PM - Challenges/Lessons Learned, and 4:45PM - Curating and Building Solutions)

Challenges and Lessons Learned:

  • Tool selection for communication pre-hackathon:
  • Ask the participants what platforms they are comfortable using.
  • Don’t give prescribed tool choices; ask in an open manner that provides a wide variety of responses.
  • As an organizer, pay attention to how much people are utilizing the pre-prepared materials. This material can be a lot of time for the organizers and you want to make sure it is being used . 

  • Pre-hackathon engagement incentives:
  • Lack of structure can be scary for first-time hackathon participants.
  • Provide guided questions. 
  • Get background on your participants to improve your communications with them.
  • Skills, industry, career stage, communication styles, etc.
  • Provide a tangible big-picture video or blog post.
  • Provide example tasks that need to be completed at the hackathon.
  • During the hackathon communication:
  • Allow for un-conference-style selection of topics to work on during hackathon.
  • Allows participants to work on topics they are most comfortable.
  • Have participants check-in 1/2 through each day to allow groups to learn from eachother, merge or pivot. 
  • Provide a template for check-ins to make them efficient. 
  • Support and re-enforce the Law of Two Feet.
  • Have facilitators practice moving between groups. 
  • Have facilitators with groups welcome people that join.
  • After hackathon communication:
  • Provide deliverables to participants, sponsors and broad community.
  • Say thank you to participants and sponsors. 
  • Highlight outcomes publicly. 
  • Keep hackathon backchannels open for those who want to continue the conversation. 


TESTIMONIALS/COMMENTS (Including “how might we build / scale this?”)