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Harnessing the Power of Co-Creation: A Case for Design-Thinking Based Hackathons

23 May 2023

Dr. Moria Levy

Co-creation—through enticing as a concept—poses its own unique challenges when it comes to practical implementation. One engaging co-creation method that has gained significant traction over the past few years is the "hackathon". Initially exclusive to the software industry, hackathons have since been embraced by a diverse range of fields due to their intensive, collaborative nature.

So, why hackathons? Simply put, they act as vibrant hubs of co-creation, offering an intense environment conducive to innovative thinking.

How does design thinking intersect with hackathons? In the early days of hackathons, the approach was less structured. Today, we strive to integrate methodologies that enhance productivity during these events, without sacrificing the inherent energy, enjoyment, and engagement hackathons offer.

Numerous design thinking models are available, including the renowned Harvard Business Model. However, when applying design thinking to hackathons—events that typically occur within a restricted timeframe—I propose utilizing a simplified three-stage model:

1. Inspiration: Gathering and assimilating existing knowledge.

2. Ideation: Generating new ideas, both derivative and original, based on the inspiration stage.

3. Implementation: Progressing from discussion to action.

James Surowiecki's concept of the "wisdom of the crowds" imparts a valuable lesson: collective wisdom should never be overlooked. In a hackathon setting, the pooled knowledge and diverse perspectives of the participants can be harnessed to enrich the co-creation process. Leverage this collective wisdom to fuel innovation and foster a truly collaborative environment.

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