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Hackathons as an innovative form of software development

The reader is published by the GIZ and is accompanied by a website on ’10 Trends in Open Innovation’. It contains various contributions, which have been published here in loose order over the last months. The contributions cover the emergence of technology innovation hubs in Africa, the innovation power of software start-ups, crowdfunding, the mobile boom in Africa, the prospects of global peer-to-peer learning, and others.

Hackathons - A Collaborative Codefest

How is it possible to create multimedia programs, mobile apps and other software in a very short space of time? One interesting way to succeed is a hackathon. The term is a combination of the words ‘hack’ meaning tool or solution, and ‘marathon’. It refers to an event at which programmers, graphic designers, interface designers and other ‘co-workers’ sit down together in order to focus on work and be creative.

There are hackathons on educational subjects, games, the social good, clean energy and water pollution as well as hackathons for teens, college students and for women only. In fact, even Facebook’s Like button started as a hackathon project. Hackathons have emerged as an efficient way of innovating and networking, a place for learning while creating new software. Their success shows that it’s worth taking a closer look at them.

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