Caroline on Twitter asked “Currently researching “how to put on a data hack day” Any tips?”
Here is my very notey response, mostly based on my experience as (a) participant at Hack Manchester (RIP) and (b) being a judge myself at various different events over the years.
- Think about the comfort of the participants – both physical and emotional.
- How can you be welcoming and supportive?
- Give them the opportunity to solve real-world problems but with a lot of scope for creativity.
- Give them a choice of different challenges.
- Don’t expect judges to do full code reviews (too time consuming) – judge by presented results instead.
- Ask participants to present their results in an easy to digest format (to streamline the judges’ job).
- Let people present vision as well as working results (it’s hard to get things fully functional in a short space of time).
- Recruit helpers to give a hand when participants are stuck.
- When recruiting helpers, emphasise they do NOT have to know all the answers. Their job is to help people seek solutions, not provide solutions themselves.
- Have a v strict time limit for final presentations. How many teams do you have? How long will presentations take overall if (eg) you give them 2 mins each and allow extra for changeovers? Is that too much?
- You’ll be surprised how much people can present in even 1 min. Let them know in advance that time limits will be strict. Cut them off if they overrun.
- One great approach if you have a v big event is to get them to create a 1-min video each, to be watched separately by judges.