Hackathons are predominantly associated with software coders, computer programmers, and ethical hackers. They have for a long time been used to drive innovation among companies by building inventive technology solutions. They also increase brand awareness and allow companies to source the best corporate talent while engaging with the tech community. 

Most importantly, in addition to being an innovative medium for solving pressing issues in society, corporate hackathons are also an effective way of allowing your tech teams to learn from others. If you're thinking of hosting one for the first time, we have compiled a quick guide to corporate hackathon ideas to help you drive your company projects in 2022. 

What do the best corporate hackathon project ideas have in common?

The basics of hackathon projects are pretty straightforward; a group of 2 to 5 IT specialists combine their experience and expertise to create innovative solutions to a specified real-world problem. The scope of the hackathon is diverse and can be anything from cybersecurity, fintech, ed-tech, etc. Most of them are usually time-bound and include a prize for the winning teams. 

So, what qualities make good hackathon ideas?

  • Creativity

Corporate hackathons are not just about solving problems; they also have to include a wow factor. One of their main aims is to unlock your team's creativity by giving them an invitation to innovate and a chance to experiment. Tech employees are a goldmine for awesome ideas, but they rarely have an opportunity to test out their viability. A great corporate hackathon should provide the participants with an opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and find out which of their ideas are worth pursuing. 

  • Scalability

Every tech guru thinks that their innovation will be the next big thing but are their ideas scalable? The best corporate hackathons focus on projects that allow for future upgrades and the ability to improve upon the proposed solution. When the solution makes it to the implementation stage, it should be highly customizable to meet the specific needs of the intended users. 

  • Usability

All corporate hackathons are centered around a specific challenge, and the participants are supposed to come up with a viable solution. However, it's not always about innovation and creativity. The proposed solution should have the ability to allow the users to use it efficiently and effectively without impacting their user experience. It should be able to perform the intended function seamlessly. 

  • Attainable

Don't get so carried away in creating an exciting challenge that you forget the most critical thing; achievability. With the limited time allocated in hackathon projects, the participants may only achieve a portion of what they expected to accomplish. The best internal hackathons ensure that the goals of the project are managed so that, in the end, the participants still feel as though they accomplished their main objective and weren't interrupted when the session ended. 

  • Clearly articulated

When you're coming up with ideas for the hackathon, you need to be clear about the end goal. The participants shouldn't have more questions than answers, so the real-world problem that you're trying to solve should be clearly articulated. Great hackathons are also accompanied by a proposed solution that's reasonably specific to get the participants started. 

  • Business values

Corporate hackathons are centered around the company's values; the beliefs, principles, and philosophies that guide your business activities. Your company values are a reflection of what you stand for and why your business is in operation. They don't change, even when your business strategies and goals do, because they are essential in growing your organization. Great corporate hackathons focus on solving challenges while still ensuring that the proposed solutions align with company goals.  

10 innovative hackathon ideas for your upcoming corporate hackathon projects in 2022

Corporate hackathons have increased significantly, and it's not hard to see why; they put great minds in the same room and give them time to create magic. They are also the core of innovative ideas and allow participants to create solutions that are responsive to change. If you're looking for cool hackathon ideas for your 2022 projects, here are 10 of the best ones.

1. Create theme-based corporate hackathons

The genesis of fun hackathon ideas is creating a theme around your project. Themes are not only exciting but also give your corporate hackathon creative direction. Come up with a simple theme that reflects your business values and the solution that is being solved. This will encourage participation and increase the levels of engagement. 

The theme will come in handy if you plan on running other events alongside the hackathon, as it will unify the entire experience. You can also use it to promote the hackathon and create a buzz on social media around it. 

2. Allow all departments to participate

Corporate hackathons have for a long time been limited to programmers and IT experts, but the landscape is changing. Allow other departments, including payroll, HR, accounting, marketing, etc., to participate. This will make the event more inclusive and allow for a more holistic and collaborative experience. While the participants from these departments may not know how to create code, they are great innovators. The hackathon will allow them to showcase their creative ideas and create a proof of concept or working prototype.

3. Don't be afraid to go global

Technology has turned the world into a global village, so you don't have to restrict your corporate hackathon to internal departments. Create a virtual event and allow participants from other countries to join. This will give you massive brand awareness and give your employees a unique opportunity to network on an international level and learn from some of the best experts. You just have to make sure that the time difference is accounted for. 

4. Allow for various experience levels

Everyone in your company, from beginners & intermediates to experts, has something unique to offer. Their solutions may not be code-based, but they could involve innovative ideas, a show of leadership skills, or invaluable expertise. Innovation is a creative process, and encouraging everyone to participate will encourage teamwork. It will also create a setting where people can learn from each other irrespective of their experience level. 

5. Hold multiple events simultaneously

You may have creative ideas for hackathon projects, but if the non-participants are not well taken care of, the event could end up being a failure. Hackathons are fun and engaging for everyone in the arena; it's action-packed, and they're constantly engaged. 

However, watching other people create magic for hours or days can get boring. Organize other events that run simultaneously with the hackathon so that the attendees can remain engaged. A great example would be hosting a workshop. This will also diversify the hackathon's attendance and create more awareness for the event.

6. Encourage diversity

Women are underrepresented in technology. In fact, studies show that only 25% of females are working in the tech industry. Hosting a corporate hackathon gives you a unique opportunity to change the narrative. Encourage the women in your company to participate. While they aren't the only marginalized group of people in the technology sector, focusing on their inclusion may encourage participation from other people. 

7. Include an element of surprise

Corporate hackathons have a defined roadmap; you give participants the brief, allow them some time to prepare for the event before it begins, and then start the hackathon. Here's an idea; include an element of surprise. It could be an internship opportunity for those who had great ideas that didn't win. While this is one of the simple hackathon ideas, it could be the driving force that the participants need to think outside the box. It also gives you an opportunity to pinpoint the quick thinkers who are able to make and execute fast decisions on the spot. 

8. Include an element of surprise

Most corporate hackathons involve the participants taking popular ideas and reinventing them. While this is also effective, it's too simple. Encourage and reward the risk-takers who are willing to step out of the norm and brave their original ideas being judged and cross-examined. This will encourage the other participants to get out of their comfort zone and pursue ideas that they consider too crazy. It will also leave them feeling energized and ready to face their daily challenges. 

9. Encourage interdepartmental collaborations

Expand your corporate hackathon by encouraging members from different departments to collaborate. This allows your employees to nurture strong relationships with other people within the organization, allowing your company to run smoothly. This ultimately enhances business growth. 

Interdepartmental teams are also diverse and have a great selection of experiences to work with. This ensures that there are varied solutions to the hackathon's challenge.

10. Allow yourself to go big

Don't limit your hackathon to a particular number of participants.  Some of the best hackathon projects have thousands of participants, and as long as you have the resources to accommodate them, there's no reason as to why you shouldn't go big. 

The NASA International Space Apps Challenge has been referred as the world's largest global hackathon. Yours could get there too.

Bonus tip

Some of the people who attend hackathons are often enthusiasts who may not have started their careers yet. This includes high school and college students who are interested in participating in future events. Most of them usually have a wide range of skills that could prove invaluable to your company. Hosting keynote speakers will give them the mentorship they need to become innovative thinkers.

Top corporate hackathon ideas by industry

Initially, the most innovative ideas for hackathons were based around the  Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Augmented Reality (AR). The scope is, however, changing, and you can now host corporate hackathons across a wide array of fields. Here are the top cool hackathon projects ideas based on several industries. 

Great hackathon ideas in the health industry

The adoption of technology is on an all-time high, but there's still room for innovation.  Some of the hackathon ideas that can revolutionize this industry include;

  • Virtual health assistants to monitor health conditions such as diabetes.
  • Health tech in rural and less accessible areas.
  • Enhanced emergency communications between a patient, their family, and the hospital.
  • Data processing for healthcare centers.
  • Remote patient examination 
  • Monitoring of ambulances using GPS. 

Top hackathon ideas in edtech

Tech-based solutions streamline the education system and bridge the gap between students and their tutors. Some of the cool hackathon projects in this industry include;

  • Smart tutors to help students in their problem areas.
  • Mobile apps to help college students achieve school, life, and work balance.
  • Tech solutions where students can share their experiences
  • Classroom management tools for the teachers.
  • A mobile app to help students find courses and universities.

Best hackathon ideas for consumer tech

Consumer tech is a fast-growing space, and there are several ideas around this industry. They include;

  • The use of natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide a predictive keyboard experience.
  • AI-powered drone cameras.
  • AI-based solutions to automate offices and homes.
  • The use of AR/VR for the ultimate shopping experience.

Cool hackathon ideas for fintech

The major players in the fintech industry are cryptocurrency and blockchain. However, this field is diverse, and you can host hackathons around;

  • Apps for college students to calculate credit scores.
  • Cash Flow management solutions for startups.
  • Subscription management solutions for B2B companies. 

Best hackathon ideas for autotech

The autotech industry has many gaps and voids that hackathons can help fill. They include;

  • Mobile apps to find parking spots
  • Vehicle Maintenance solution for car owners.
  •  Pedestrian safety solutions. 

Final points on hackathon project ideas

There's a lot that goes into creating a successful hackathon. You need to define the goal and problem statement of the event, set the theme, and give yourself enough time to plan. The first step, however, is to come up with an innovative idea for your hackathon project. This will determine the level of engagement & participation, the ideation rate, the quality of the ideas, and the feedback you receive from the hackathon participants. If you're having a hard time coming up with the best hackathon projects, the above ideas will get you started.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you need help running your first hackathon event. We'll be delighted to help!