Hackathons are a way to let people from different disciplines work together on challenges for a limited time (30 hours). It’s a form of social innovation where the participants work on specific tasks. 

In 2016, the province of Drenthe held a first Hackathon called What the Hackathon. She cooperated with the Growing Workplace and the Entrepreneursfactory of Drenthe. These are networks for and by entrepreneurs where you can rent flexible workplaces and  exchange knowledge with others.

The theme of the first hackathon was Internet of Things / LoRaWAN. In 30 hours, different teams worked on cases from businesses and governmental organizations. The hackathon  resulted in a lot of clever solutions and even startups  emerged.

The winners of the hackathon designed a clever bike path, made of blocks of waste. In the cycle path there are sensors that can pass on all kinds of information. For example, if the path is slippery because of ice and needs to be cleared, or when the path is worn out and certain spots need maintenance. Also, the bicycle path can charge the batteries of electric bikes by means of induction.

Later in the year, What the Hackathon became an entity in itself and more hackathons were organized in 2016 and 2017. The province gave a small subsidy for this. Themes included circular economy and smart industry / smart cities. In addition, the Netherlands's first blockchain hackathon was organized in Drenthe.

Hackathons teach us that you can deal with social tasks in innovative / smart ways. Creating a mixed club for 30 hours will create a lot of innovative ideas in co-creation. Teams are supervised by experts and coaches and there is a jury reviewing the prototypes. There has been a lot of media attention for the hackathons. The Province of Drenthe is very pleased with the results achieved.

More information:  www.whatthehackathon.nl