What is an AI Hackathon? 

AI hackathons enable data scientists to solve real-world data challenges using artificial intelligence and machine learning. To maximize human potential, they leverage AI to develop creative solutions. 

Benefits of Hosting an Artificial Intelligence Hackathon

Find inspiration. 

People who work together every day often tend to share the same point of view, get inspired with the same things, and choose solutions that worked for them previously. 

That's fine, but you will eventually get stuck if you don't keep your mind open to new ideas and solutions. A mind that always follows the same path will never be able to think outside the box.

AI professionals need to meet new people, challenge new ideas and embrace new solutions. 

New hire opportunities. 

Your company can find new talent through a global AI hackathon. Recruiting people costs money - it can cost up to 60% of the employee's annual salary to hire a new employee. 

Businesses search for creative, competent, and self-motivated employees, even if it takes months to find them. The hackathon works like a magic spell bringing these people together from all over the world. 

The purpose of hackathons isn't just to recruit, however. If they were, they could turn into awkward job interviews. 

Possibilities of developing new products.

Participants can create a fantastic extension to your product during a one-day AI scholar hackathon. Hackathon participants often use the company's open API and share their documentation to see what a fresh mind can do. Sometimes it works. 

However, a hackathon's purpose is not to make people build free prototypes. You should use your company's infrastructure for new projects, but you should also give participants creative freedom. 

Advertise your brand.

Every event your company hosts helps you advertise your brand. Successful hackathons help you establish your company as an expert in a given area. 

How can your company stand out from the rest? There are many ways to accomplish this. Plan additional lectures to teach participants, invite special guests, or fund big prizes if you'd like.

Build a community.

You need talented and creative people around you to grow and develop. The goal of an event should be to make it memorable and stay in touch with attendees. 

How to Run a Hackathon on AI: A Full 8-Step Guide

  1. Decide whether you want to provide workshops at your hackathon. For first-time participants, providing workshops makes it easier to feel comfortable before diving into hacking. 

Workshops can introduce participants to the hackathon's topic or specific technical skills. Participants can also discuss AI-related issues in workshops. It is best to make them interactive. 

  1. Choose a venue and date. This is the only thing you need to do far in advance. You should reserve space as soon as possible.

Your chosen venue should provide:

  • Suitable seating.
  • A power strip per table. 
  • Wi-Fi that is fast, reliable, and does not block any ports. 
  • Projector
  • Large rooms need a microphone. 
  • Wheelchair-accessible entrances and seating. Ensure that the stage is wheelchair accessible. 
  • Bathrooms that are gender-neutral and single occupancy. 

Hacking and workshops have different seating requirements. A banquet-style setup with circular tables that seat about ten people will work well for hacking. 

You'll want rectangular tables and chairs set up in a classroom-style setting for workshops.

Choose your event date carefully. Avoid scheduling it during the summer, during holidays, or around other events relevant to your field. Professional attendees have a hard time with the weekends. For parents, weeknights are tricky. 

Find out what time the venue allows you to begin and end your event. Schedule your arrival and departure times and those of your participants. Set up and tear down or clean up 30 minutes before and after the event. 

You and your participants need to be able to get in. Ensure the front door is unlocked, and there's someone to let participants in. You may have to rotate door staff throughout the day.

Find out if the venue allows food. Ensure the air conditioner or heater will be on if the event is held after hours. 

A professional venue costs a lot, so you'll have to stay within your budget. Venues in major cities usually charge significant fees for large, one-day events. Depending on how much space you need, you may have to pay anywhere from $10 to $30 a person. 

  1. Get sponsorships. You may need ai hackathon sponsors to pay for large events. AI hackathon sponsors provide funding, space, food, and t-shirts, expecting to gain something in return. Perhaps they are recruiting or hiring and want to see who will attend, or maybe they are marketing a product. 

If you want to reward AI hackathon sponsors, consider your options. You will probably mention them in your opening and closing remarks and thank them on social media as well.

Beyond that, you may want to let them talk to your participants or set up a display at a table in the back. It's your choice; you have to balance bringing sponsorships with the goals of your event. 

Plan your budget first to determine how much you need to raise in sponsorship fees. Then start securing AI hackathon sponsors early. 

  1. Figure out what kind of food to get. - Coffee, light breakfast food, and drinks throughout the day, especially water, are ideal. Remember, food is expensive so do what you can. 

You should provide vegetarian and dairy-free options if you serve food. Making everything vegetarian wouldn't hurt either. After that, consider vegan, kosher, and gluten-free restrictions.

Make smart food choices. Choose relatively healthy foods. Avoid food that makes people sleepy, such as carbohydrates, or ineffective, like alcohol. It's OK to have sugar and caffeine - energy is vital - but provide real food too. 

You can expect to spend between $7 and $15 per person. Pizza is cheap and easy to find, but it is also basically the worst thing you can feed someone - and not everyone eats it. 

  1. Choose the type of swag you'll provide. You can give merchandise, such as t-shirts and stickers, at events. If you decide to do this, remember not to give t-shirts that fit everyone because everyone isn't alike. Instead of t-shirts, you might want to offer a tote bag with your company's branding on it. You may even want to include some special prizes for the ai hackathon winners. 

  1. Decide on a moral code. Technology events are notorious for not welcoming women or minorities. Consider changing that with a code of conduct. Rules aren't the only thing to consider here. It signals to potential participants that you want to create a welcoming environment. if there's a problem, a code of conduct helps you resolve it. 

  1. Consider scheduling a pre and post-event happy hour. This helps participants network in a relaxed setting. Following the hackathon, participants have a chance to socialize at a post-event happy hour. 

Talk to the manager in advance about large events and pick a place you can bring many people to. 

If you serve alcohol, remember not everyone drinks. People younger than 21, pregnant women, and others don't drink. Alcohol can make an environment risky or uncomfortable. Drunk people must take public transportation home. 

Make sure you provide non-alcoholic options, maintain a professional and comfortable environment, and keep the location near public transportation. 

  1. Set up a registration form. - Create a registration form on an event website such as Eventbrite. Make sure you know your maximum capacity when setting up your registration form. In the case of parallel tracks, all participants will gather in one room at the start of an event, so your maximum capacity will be higher. People can stand or squeeze at the beginning.

About 65 percent of people who register for a free event will attend. Therefore, cap registrations to 150 percent of the actual capacity you have. 

When you're registering guests, gather the following info:

  • Name (and maybe other details requested by venue security)
  • Email address
  • Job title
  • Is this their first hackathon?
  • What type of hacking do they do? 
  • What do they want to hack? This is a free-form question. 
  • Do they want to attend any workshops? 
  • Where did they hear about it?
  • Requests or special needs. 

The more information you have, the better you can plan. As soon as registrations start coming in, start thinking of who will do what. Using the information you know about each participant, consider how they will stay engaged.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Organizing AI Hackathons

Not providing support to participants

Please don't assume the hackathon participants know everything about their projects. They may need assistance with the tools. If they don't receive the support they need, they won't complete the hackathon. 

How to fix this 

The participants should receive extended support and guidance when working on these projects. Participants and event hosts benefit from more interaction, communication, and engagement. 

Thinking the brand name will attract participants. 

Hackathons are always successful and fun to conduct. Companies take pride in running successful hackathons. Businesses should avoid following this lousy trend and trait at all costs. It doesn't matter who you're targeting; brand names alone won't attract people. 

How to fix this:

When advertising your hackathon, emphasize the hackathon's goal to attract participants. They'll be more interested in that than the company's name running the hackathon.

Choosing either a virtual or an entirely physical hackathon. 

An entirely physical hackathon is unlikely with COVID-19 so prevalent. Participants won't be able to interact in a virtual hackathon

How to fix this: 

Combining onsite and online hackathons is the solution to this problem. This hackathon starts as a virtual event and ends with a physical event. Hackers develop their ideas over two to four months. Teams receive mentoring throughout the preparation process. 

Risks are lower no matter what industry you work in. They create a networking atmosphere where you get to know more people. It provides the opportunity to find out how proficient they are in their field and their personalities. Knowing this is critical for corporations that are searching for fresh talent. 

Handling the final tasks wrong. 

Closing ceremonies are crucial to the AI hackathon. This is when your shortlisted teams meet for the first time to execute their projects. A successful closing ceremony requires a dynamic host and ensures that all candidates are ready to showcase their projects. 

How to fix this:

Handle the final tasks correctly. Pick a suitable host for your closing ceremony, make sure that all candidates are prepared to showcase their projects. 

Lack of experimental thinking.

Hackathons generally encourage participants to reach the top. Instead of teaching them to run after success, companies should encourage them to learn and educate them to do more experimental and practical thinking. 

How to fix this:

The company and participants should develop more robust software or something accessible and workable to avoid this. Hackathons shouldn't become telemarketing conventions. Innovation and experimental thinking help a company grow.

3 Best AI Hackathon Ideas

Build a tool to recognize famous people.

Due to the increasing popularity of AI, facial recognition has become very popular. You can use it to identify famous people in photos. 

Your first step is to build a model that identifies faces in pictures. Using a dataset of people's photos, train it to identify specific people in images. After that, you can test it out and see how well it performs. This project tests your abilities to apply AI and machine learning knowledge. 

Make a chatbot.

This is an excellent idea for hackathon AI beginners. Chatbots have recently gained in popularity. By answering the user's questions the way a real person would, they enhance the user experience. 

To create a chatbot, the participants will need to know Python, AI, and NLP. User messages should be identified and responded to as appropriate. The ability to respond to multiple messages makes your hackathon application stand out. 

Create an intelligent assistant for offices.

Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri have become very popular. Smart assistants use IoT and AI to simplify small tasks like ordering something online and performing a Google search. 

Think about making a smart assistant for an office based on the prevalent smart assistants. You can use it to schedule meetings, find documents, and find documents. 

Looking for the right platform to organize your hackathon AI project? Try Hackathon.com - We organize internal hackathons, external hackathons, and online hackathons. You'll find all the resources you need to run your hackathon, including mentors, judges, speakers, tech partners, and suppliers. This saves you time on event production

Final points

When organizing an AI hackathon, keep these points in mind:

  • Decide whether to provide workshops
  • Choose a venue and date
  • Get sponsors for large events.
  • Figure out what kind of food to serve. 
  • Figure out what kind of swag you're going to provide
  • Come up with a code of conduct
  • Consider scheduling happy hours before and after the event
  • Set up a registration form. 

Be sure to avoid some of the common AI hackathon mistakes - provide adequate support to your participants, don't rely on your company's brand name to attract participants, don't handle the final tasks wrong, and be willing to think experimentally. '

Take our advice and you will have a successful AI hackathon, contact us.