Hackathons as a catalyst to create more impact for university industry cooperation

Mikko Korpela
Crazy Town Oy

Toni Pienonen
Crazy Town Oy

Abstract
Today regions, cities and ecosystems face growing need for co-creation. How to connect wicked problems and needs with resources and fresh solutions? Paper strategies exists but nothing (usually) happens. Universities need tools to built trust, relationships and interaction between stakeholders. Hackathon is one way to tackle this problem.
This interactive workshop we’ll give you tools to organise and facilitate a hackthon (or a similar co-creation event) of your own.
Our experience is based on organizing dozens of hackathons in highly different university-business-cooperation contexts such as Finland and Albania.

WHAT IS A HACKATHON?

A hackathon is a faciliated event, where entrepreneurial people and resources come together to create solutions for a real-life challenge. Outcome of a hackathon can be a new:
- service
- product
- concept
- way of doing things
- startup
- initiative
- joint-project with university
All of which can be implemented after the hackathon process.

WHO ARE INVOLVED IN A HACKATHON?

I) BUSINESS AND SOCIETY
Can be public or private organizations with a real-life need they are looking new solutions for
Benefits:
- Solve your real-life problems and find new ideas
- Improve your capability with new products and services, or explore business opportunities
- Meet and recruit smart enthusiastic talents
- Learn about open innovation
- Launch new cooperation with businesses, universities and other innovation organizations
- Make a positive impact in society

ii) PARTICIPANTS
Come to solve the problem with a new solution
Can come from different backgrounds:
- University students
- University researchers & teachers
- University-based: idea-/ or early-stage startups
- Startups, businesses, mentors

iii) UNIVERSITIES & INNOVATION SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS
Universities, accelerators, coworking communities, provide resources participants, support and coaching
Benefits:
New univeristy-based early-stage startup ideas
Engage more stakeholders in your UBC activities
Create high-impact learning-by-doing
Gain new cooperation with industry & startup ecosystem participants

WHAT MAKES A GOOD HACKATHON CHALLENGE?

- Relevant: Solving the challenge addresses the strategy of the challenge-owner
- Actionable: It allows different approaches and challenge-owner has resources to make use of new solutions
- Meaningful: It is interesting for participants from different backgrounds.

LEARNING POINTS OF THINS WORKSHOP

Even if hackathons already are a familiar tool for you and your organisation this workshop gives new insights on how to organise them as a systematic process. We take a look at organising hackathons from the practitioner’s point of view; what happens before, during and after.

Learn:
-How to formulate publicly-acknowledge problems / needs into a good hackathon challenge
-Recognize opportunities where to use hackathons
-How to create societal impact with hackathons
-How to implement hackathons in a systematic fashion at your own university so that act as a catalyst to pool resources, people together, so that they create new opportunities,