How To Plan & Launch An Online Hackathon In A Week?

A Case Study with One Million Arab Coders Initiative.

During COVID-19 complete lockdown, the world was looking for innovative ways to survive, communicate, and maintain a healthy lifestyle despite the isolation. Tech-based solutions were they way to go, and online hackathons where the right space for creating those solutions.

Dubai Future Foundation, through its One Million Arab Coders initiative, managed to launch their regional online hackathon in partnership with Untap. We managed to plan and launch the hackathon in just one week! How did that work? Let’s walk you through it.

1. The Problem

As the leading initiative in MENA for learning coding, One Million Arab Coders initiative needed to utilize their vast network of coders, to quickly act in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic. The objective was to come up with solutions that can help lessen those challenges.

2. The Solution

Untap proposed a completely virtual hackathon, connecting coders and subject-matter experts, from across the region. Untap platform would be used for launching the hackathon website, receiving and judging submissions, as well as communicating with participants. The hackathon concept, themes, application forms, evaluation forms, and evaluation criteria to be developed by Untap team, in addition to sourcing and managing of mentorship and judges.

3. The Process

Day 1: Hackathon Concept & Problem Statement

  • Come up with the hackathon concept, themes, and timeline.
  • Develop the hackathon name, and create hackathon branding and website material.

Day 2: Hackathon Website

  • Create the communication messages and website content.
  • Customize the hackathon website using Untap website customizer.

Day 3: Judges Communication

  • Contact potential judges.
  • Prepare judges toolkits, to be used for briefing and onboarding.

Day 4: Application Form

  • Put together the application form using Untap templates library.
  • Build the application form on Untap platform to be ready for interested applicants to fill out.

Day 5: Judges Onboarding

  • Set judging criteria for the hackathon entry phase.
  • Finalize agreements with judges, and getting them started.

Day 6: Participants

  • Set up slack workspace to be used for managing the hackathon community during team formation and ideation phases.
  • Build participants toolkits with instructions on how to submit application, get the best out of slack community to form teams and receive mentorship.

Day 7: Launching

  • Launch the hackathon website.
  • Publish hackathon announcements and press release on social media.

4. Outcomes

  • Over 3000 registrants.

  • Over 1200 solutions submitted.

  • 45 countries participated.

  • 60 mentors and judges

  • Over 100 hours of mentorship.

  • Over 10 hours webinars.

  • 35 teams shortlisted.

  • 5 teams were selected as winners.

  • A total of $50,000 cash prizes.

5. Winners Spotlight

Covideep – HealthTech

A platform offering smart diagnosis services to support health professional to diagnose covid-19 better and faster. Covideep is also an open and collaborative data platform to support the community to collect and annotate data (CT scans)

Innova XR – EdTech

An Affordable virtual remote learning platform made for K-12 School students to enjoy remote and interactive learning, the  platform ​provides teachers and students with virtual learning capability and communication environments with minimum distractions. 

PinPoint – Open Track

A platform that utilizes AI and Computer Vision technology in order to drive businesses and governments with useful insights to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  Through PinPoint, individuals will be able to view live data that reflects the number of people in stores like supermarkets and pharmacies. 

Raqeb – EdTech

Rakeb platform is a web application that represents a remote virtual exam hall in which an observer is assigned to each student to monitor them while taking their academic exam from his home. It detects cheating according to academic integrity conditions applied by the university or educational institution.

Yuram – Wellbeing

A platform for facilitating distant special education amidst social distancing. YURAM empowers parents, therapists, and shadow teachers with effective communication tools that enable training delivery monitoring, timely progress reporting, and innovative and collaborative capacity building.

6. Participants Testimonials

Interesting, enjoyable, and stressful. We enjoyed working on the multiple challenges that just popped up every single hour. Our mentors were very helpful, and their valuable feedback and help allowed us to make remarkable progress.

We became part of a well-organized community, that tries to best serve the society and humanity by joining efforts and combining skill

We gained a good experience from our mentors, and from live webinars. We learned how to make a business model, how to build the right product, how to improve our prototype, how to improve our presentation, and much more.

Before starting this hackathon we only had an idea, now we are convinced that this project can come true, and we can spread a good message. You allowed us to be the change that we want to see in the world.

Hackathons are really rewarding events; for the program organizer, for participants, and for a world that is in constant need of innovative solutions. A hackathon is one way to develop prototypes with the lowest resources, in a short time frame.

Make sure to check out our comprehensive hackathon planning checklist for more help on organizing a hackathon. you can also book your demo to discuss the ways we can help you plan and launch your hackathon in not time!