The holding of hackathons is a popular and already well-established activity that offers industries the possibility to gather people enthusiastic to develop new ideas. The E-Space project took up this concept and developed it further, re-conceptualising the meaning of ‘hackathon’ in the cultural heritage sector, engaging creative industries, developers, professionals and new audiences with content and tools delivered and developed, respectively as part of the Europeana Space project.
E-Space Hackathons, 6 events held in various European cities, were conceived as a platform for engagement and the clear response was that such events are incredibly beneficial not just for engagement but for stimulating institutions as a whole, gaining new ideas and energy through the younger, creative industry participants. Alongside engaging new audiences, the structural purposes of the hackathons was to inspire the creation of new businesses that will build strong business models wherein creative re-use of cultural heritage materials can develop business sustainability. Out of the E-Space hackathon, 7 winning projects passed throught two rounds of selection (the Hackathon and a Business Modelling Workshop), and were eventually tunnelled in an intensive incubation support, thus being prepared for their approach to the real market.
What made E-Space hackathons so unique, successful and path breaking is the focus on concept development, knowledge-sharing and business modeling rather than pure coding. It was not the value of the prize that attracted participants: what was highly appreciated by the participants is the possibility of exchanging ideas, developing synergies around the concept of re-using digital (cultural) content. E-Space Hackathons gave people the challenge of converting their ideas in a sustainable business model with a possible market potential.
Of course, a hackathon is not a one-size-fits-all format that suits every purpose. It can bring insights, inspiration and ideas. But its success depends on proper organization and its focus.
Based on the experience with organizing six hackathons in the Europeana Space project and pre-existing experiences with project partners, we created a how to guide, exploring the use of hackathons in the cultural sector and helping others to get started with organising one themselves.
This publication intends to share the lessons we learnt for the realization of a successful event. It was developed by partner WAAG and is available under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike).
Downlad the booklet: PDF, 8 Mb
About E-Space hackathons: http://www.europeana-space.eu/hackathons-home/
About the 7 Incubated projects: http://www.europeana-space.eu/e-space-incubated-projects/
WAAG website: http://waag.org/en/news/hacking-culture-guide