Although hackathons vary in structure depending on where they are held and who is hosting them, the innovation weekends typically begin with participants forming the small teams they’ll be working with throughout the event. How exactly the teams are formed varies by hackathon, but many begin with an event where participants discuss problems that interest them and recruit others to work on solutions for that problem.
For example, MIT Hacking Medicine events typically begin with a “problem pitch-off,” followed by 30 minutes of mingling before a “solution pitch-off” where participants can recruit a team to work on a certain solution. “We like to emphasize that people talk about the problem and paint a picture of why this is important,” says Lina Colucci of MIT Hacking Medicine. “Participants will say, ‘We’re trying to solve this problem, we’re looking for a partner with xyz skills.’”
Regardless of what process is used to form teams, it is critical for participants of the hackathon to mingle and collaborate with other participants whose backgrounds differ from their own – that is, after all, the whole point.
Brendan Pease was MedTech Boston's first ever editorial and events intern. He is now a junior at Harvard University where he studies Molecular and Cellular Biology. He’s also the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Science Review. Previously, he worked as a Market Intelligence intern at athenahealth and as a research assistant in the Goldberg Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.
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