Design Hackathon in DC 2019 Results

"Saturday's DC Hackathon was fun, stressful, intimidating, chaotic and enjoyable all rolled up in a tightly packed ball of insanity."

Multidisciplinary Interactive and UI/UX Designer
"Thank you! It was great to see it come together and meet so many interesting people! "

Volunteer in the
hackathon organization

Hackathon organizer
After 12 months of design and product management event organization, I wanted to see something practical and fun. That is why I organized the Design Hackathon with the help of amazing partners, judges and participants.

49 teams submitted their design solutions for 14 challenges.

Each team got access to challenges 1 day before the hackathon starts at Optoro's office. The main teamwork happened between 10 am and 4pm (6 hours).

Due to security limitations, we were limited to host only 140 people inside the office. 10 teams had to participate remotely with 1 representative on sight.

2 months prior to the event we thought to host 100 people in 8 hours. But 200 registered participants forced us to be agile and organize the event under any kind of limitations.

I hope that at the next event we could fit 200+ people for 8+ hours.
If you know such a place please contact me.

The next design hackathon in DC should happen in 2020.
If you know a company that might be interested to be a partner/sponsor in the future great creative professional contest please connect me with them.

1. Computercraft Challenge Winner

Prize is $250 cash
Team 17: Hannah White, Nadia Jamrozik, Dani Broderick

2. Benten Technologies Challenge Winner 1 & 2

Prize is $250 cash
This was the most popular challenge, and Benten Tech gave an extra $250 prize to another team winner too.
Team 24: Ernest Chua, Jonathan Rouse, Tim Kuo, Owen Pycha
Team 35: Alina Khon, Michael Guild, Stephanie Yang, Artemio Rivera

3. Aquent Challenge Winner

Prize is awesome books, worth of $100 + 1 hour meeting with UX expert: resume review and career advice
Team 12: Lindsay Westcott, Sasha Kryvenka

4. Weatherbug Challenge Winner

Prize is amazing weather station, worth of ~$250
Team 31: Hannah Mussi, Ashlyn Anthony, Mary Safy

5. UXPressia Challenge Winner

Prize is UXPressia and Academy licenses, worth of ~$500.
For each team member.

6. Sketch Challenge Winner

Prize is Sketch app license, worth of ~$100.
For each team member.
Team 32: Erin Pfiffner, Tyler Anderson, Ming Ye, Charlie Mouton
Submission: Sketch file

7. Sympli Challenge Winner

Prize is Sympli license, worth of ~$200. For a team.
Team 49: Dmitry Golovsky, Gary Romanov, Bonnie Chow

8. Adobe Challenge Winner

Prize is Adobe Creative Cloud license, worth of ~$1000.
For each team member.

9. Icons8 Challenge Winner

Prize is Icons8 subscription, worth of ~$200.
For each team member.
Team 22: Deyanira Verdejo, Jenny Wang, Allison Miller

They also won Adobe Challenge

10. Tilda Publishing Challenge Winner

Prize is Tilda subscription, worth of ~$120.
For each team member.
Team 56: CHANEKA (Nicky) ARTHUR, Isabel Abaunza, Yulia Lesnichaya, Jessica Hoang

11. InVision Challenge Winner

Prize is awesome books
Team 27: Jazzmyn Howington, Xinyu Fan, Sarah Sugarman

12. Ealai Challenge Winner

Prize is $200 cash
Team: 44 Yao Adantor, Kehinde Ayanleye, Isahq Rana

13. Storyblocks Challenge Winner

Prize is Storyblocks subscription, worth of ~$350.
For each team member.
Team 23: Andrew Castro, Eléonore Dixon-Roche

14. Your own Challenge Winner

No categorial prize for that challenge.
Eligible for the main prize competition.
Team 67: Max Rutman, William Schweider, Caleb Pase, Cormac Rada
Group Winners
All teams were split into judging groups, and only one team in a group won the opportunity to present in front of everybody and compete for a final prize.
Group 1 winner
Team 30: Lauren Beronja, Kara Beronja, Kacy Yang
Group 2 winner
Group 3 winner
Group 4 winner
Team 18: Hasnia Bekkadja, Aysha Abdallah, Amina Maameri
Hackathon Winner
In a final round of judging, we had a draw, so the extra judge was required to pick a winner. A team that showed a live working prototype of their solution won!
Team 18: Hasnia Bekkadja, Aysha Abdallah, Amina Maameri
Lessons Learned
It was our first hackathon. We collected it anonymously so people could express negative part. Here is some information to do better next time.
I wish the judging process is more organized and more organizer to help the host with announcement, ceremony and etc.
The host was yelling a lot and it was extremely overwhelming at times and made the process more stressful than it needed to be. I definitely would recommend toning it down a bit...
The competition had excellent communication leading up to the event, but less organization the day of the event. Requesting set up/break down volunteers might help with this. A larger space to accommodate the number of attendees would be a big improvement. Great work getting the first one off the ground! Looking forward to next year.
More clarification for challenge structure (i.e. it was unclear for a while that we could participate in multiple challenges) and timing - it's completely unacceptable to go 45 min/1 hour over
More time to work on the challenges. For example, releasing the challenges 48 hours before the submission so everyone had the chance to do the research, and work with their groups on the challenges.
I enjoyed this event a lot!!! I have couple small suggestions:

Challenges: It will be nice if you don't reveal the challenges before event. The all three winners' teams prepared a lot of work before event, during the night time. The won team showed that they done ~16 completive analyzes. They worked and thought about the app idea before event a lot. Don't put together personal app (personal idea app) challenge on the same level as other challenges.

Results: One more small detail, it will be more helpful if the results be announced in different order. First for small challenges, then for big. Also, it will be nice if these announcements be more organize and official. The small challenges should present the best work as well. We worked hard to find right solution and approach for chosen challenge.

Help: If you need any help to organize next year event. I would like to help as much as I can :) I think extra hands always needs on this type of activities. Thank you!

A person who wrote it, please contact Vlad
1. Provide more time to the designers. Our team only had our project finished to the lo fi wireframes. Maybe the hackathon can start earlier in the day.
2. Have the mentors come around and talk to the teams more to check on the progress. Especially for first time design hackers.
3. I appreciate Vlad's urgency in rushing us to finish but it was a bit too much. If he's going to be like that next time, maybe lower the mic volume?
4. The demo process was confusing. We were not aware that we has to present to judges and companies. This could be made more explicitly next time.
5. Have a specific time of when the design challenges will be announced. So all of my team members can be online at the same time.

I will absolutely participate next year because it was so much fun and a valuable learning experience as a student. There needs to be more design hackathons like this! Thank you Vlad, judges, sponsors, and staff for making the first hackathon a great one! It was an overall wonderful experience and went smoothly. Until then :)
There was a lot of yelling over the microphones which was stressful. Some companies' challenges seemed to be favored over others and their representatives were allowed to disseminate information to participants over the speakers. It was distracting for groups not doing their challenges. It would have been helpful to have gatherings at the beginning of the hackathon where each challenges met with the representatives in different parts of the office to go over any details to combat that issue.
More time! I'd love to be able to see other team's presentations and get to learn how others come up with alternative design solutions. I'm incredibly thankful for the complimentary food and networking opportunities!!
The instructions were confusing for people who didn't attend the Teams building Q&A a week prior. I understand that you sent 300 emails and messages on Telegram with all the info, but still some people didn't pay attention to any of those. Solution here- Take 15-30 mins at 10 am to go in details over the schedule, all the instructions, etc. To make it more beneficial for partners - it would be wise to take another 30 mins in the beginning to officially introduce sponsors....

And last but not least, make sure the venue's capacity is enough to fit everyone in rather than keeping some folks downstairs. Over all, everything went well I think and everyone enjoyed themselves. Thank you so much for your hard work!
I don't think allowing people to do their own challenges and compare them to the provided challenges is a good idea as people can just take some project they've been working on for a year and present it. Maybe personal challenges can be in a separate category as well? I'd also cap the number of participants. I did like the judging format, and that you could win the provided challenges and potentially the whole thing. It made it much more fun. Food was great too!
Establish set locations beforehand for each partner challenge, and the requirements to participate in each partner challenge (i.e. if a project applies to several, make sure that is well advertised before the hackathon starts, maybe by sorting the challenges so that some are tool-based and others are scenario-based). Also, don't release the challenges prior to the event because it allows folks with established teams to begin ahead of time. Instead, have everyone start at the same time! Have partner challenge hosts introduce themselves before the event starts so everyone knows who is who and doesn't have to hunt them down during the day. Great event otherwise, well executed, and looking forward to the next one!
It would be nice if all awards were announced at the same time at the end of the Designathon (instead of announcing each category winner along the way). This would also ensure that whichever group won out of the final four also did not win their category. The host was very high energy (which was good!) but I think at certain times it contributed to people's stress and created a slightly less welcoming environment.
More streamlined judging process. This time participants picked a room and it was pretty informal-- maybe next time each team gets assigned a judging group to go to? Would also love more time to network with other judges and being able to take longer to discuss the final winner. We were strapped for time this year, but maybe we have criteria to pick the winner next time? Similar to the way we picked a winner from each judging group.
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