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Hackathons: the new innovation tool by Véra

08 May 2019

A hackathon – a portmanteau of hack and marathon – is a sprint-like innovation event aiming to develop new solutions to a given problem. It is an increasingly popular approach for organisations wanting to think outside the box and devise innovative solutions. Bringing together participants from the IT, tech, start-up and other sectors, who form groups to respond to a particular challenge, hackathons are a collaborative creative process that can run non-stop for up to three days.

Brands, businesses and institutions constantly need to drive their strategies forwards. They also need new tools to promote collaboration – something that is more and more in vogue. To do this, many of them are jumping on the bandwagon of efficient, time-saving hackathons.

And VO Europe is no exception. It has been tasked by the European Commission's DG GROWTH department with organising several hackathons to build an innovative portal for citizens and companies wanting to live or do business in another European Union country. The portal’s aim is to support the European Single Market through clear, intelligent and targeted information, procedures and support services. So far, four hackathons have been planned in four different cities (Brussels, Tallinn, Bucharest and Barcelona). Each hackathon tackles one particular challenge, with the European Commission asking hackathonners to develop feedback tools, support services, services to give people easier access to tax information, and a search system that handles large amounts of product data.

The first 24-hour event was held at the end of March at BeCentral in Brussels, with the 40 participants splitting their time between two challenges. The first was about developing feedback tools to help overcome the obstacles faced by users, while the second looked at developing assessment tools.

The winners were the #EUWeHaveAProblem team, who put forward the idea of using a hashtag to collate all of the problems users encountered. Statistics could then be generated from the back-end data. The winning team took home €5,000, to be shared between all of its members – a well-deserved reward after 24 hours of cogs turning and brains whirring!

The next hackathon will take place in Bucharest and will explore the topic of support services

To help it promote and run this European Commission initiative, VO Europe called on the services of Voice, the digital communications agency within the VO Group. Its role was to publish live coverage and stories on the DG GROWTH Facebook account throughout each of the 24-hour hackathons. The group was also regularly updated. On top of that, Voice was the brains behind the registration system that was developed for the four events.

By pooling their talents, these two VO Group agencies have pulled off yet another smash hit. The European Commission is delighted, the winning quartet are big fans, and VO Europe is already off to a flying start with its plans for the next hackathons. It is yet another great example of how efficiently the VO family pulls together for maximum impact!

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