How do you run a Hackathon to innovate successfully with external partners?

By March 2, 2020December 22nd, 2020No Comments

Hackathons, which effectively give partners hundreds of hours of R&D time from hand-picked innovators spurred on by an element of competition, are gaining momentum across a range of industries.

At Pioneers, we have run more than 20 successful hackathons across numerous countries and industries with partners such as Palfinger, VoestAlpine, MVM and Swisspower. As hackathon experts, we created a whitepaper on everything hackathon-related that there is to know. Here is a sneak preview of some of our top tips for success:

1. Outline exactly why you are running a hackathon.
What are your goals? What is the problem you want to tackle and who should be involved? Make sure you answer these questions before you kick-off. Don´t forget to involve the key stakeholders from the start and include them in the problem definition. Ensuring that a clear strategy and budget is in place to turn selected ideas into reality post event is also strongly recommended.

2. Give yourself enough time.
A hackathon takes anywhere between 3-5 months from planning to implementation. Don´t rush in the beginning – the outcomes of a hackathon are only as good as its preparation.

3. Ensure you create well-defined, relevant use cases.
This gives you and your team clear direction and secondly, it enables you to search for top-fitting startups with technological solutions across different industries.

4. Find top-fitting startups.
Having the right startups to bring external ideas and innovation into the project is essential. To do so, outline a clear scouting strategy and criteria so you know the type of startups to engage.

5.Organization is key.
From event location to catering, and everything in between, it is important to have a key team involved who manage and implement all operational tasks. This creates a memorable event experience for all parties involved.

These are just a handful of our top tips to set you up for success. If you would like to find out more or are interested in Pioneers Discover running a hackathon on your behalf, email

Read more about our previous Hackathon with VoestAlpine and Primetals.