If you organized a live hackathon in the past you might soon realize that organizing a virtual one comes with many more challenges. A virtual hackathon is not better or worse, it is different. The main difference is in the dependability on the technical part: you have to be skilled to use virtual platforms and be able to facilitate participants in a virtual environment. And, oh, yes, everything must then work properly as you imagined it. Will it?

Some important guidelines for virtual business hackathons

Ok, let’s say you have taken care of the technical part and hired a team of skilled hackathon facilitators to organize and moderate the event. Yet, unless you are organizing a virtual hackathon for developers, programmers, IT’s – you have to assume that an average attendee is not (yet) accustomed to a virtual environment to the same level as you are. Especially in large companies where the noble ambition is to organize an internal hackathon but an average employee is not used nor technically properly equipped to use online platforms, let alone working remotely online.


  • Recommendation No. 1: Make the virtual hackathon simple in terms of technology and tools. And then simplify even more!
  • Recommendation No. 2: Choose only tools business people will embrace easily.
  • Recommendation No. 3: Do a really good preparation (Tech, business case, working teams). Simulate everything prior to execution. Test the technology step by step.

Here you go: some tips and tricks

Each virtual hackathon has three phases: preparation, execution, and follow up phase. Here are some preparation and execution tips and tricks you might find useful when thinking of planning a virtual hackathon:

  1. Use platform and tool combos, for example, you can use: Zoom + Viber + Mentimeter + Jamboard + some other
  2. Have a strong business case and a clear hackathon goal.
  3. Make sure the teams have clear access to mentors and vice versa: that the mentors have a clear protocol on how to approach teams and via which channel.
  4. Have a team of hosts and co-hosts ready. The moderator should focus on facilitation whereas one or two more co-hosts take care of the technical details before and during the hackathon.
  5. Make a good briefing with mentors and hackathon jury (if you decide to have one). Show them around the platform and introduce communication channels as well as clarify their roles and present the hackathon agenda.
Virtual Hackathon

Execution tips

  1. Use icebreakers. Choose an ice breaker activity a group of 100 + people can do together (for example Change of perspective game or a 3 min stretching exercise).
  2. Expect technical challenges and come prepared. Having a technical Plan B for every step of the hackathon might be wise.
  3. Break the virtual hackathon into several pieces – streaming the whole event for the whole day is not recommended. Have the participants at main sessions at times where you have to communicate messages to all and then let them work in separate channels or rooms.
  4. Fun times. Insert a piece of mini music streaming (yes, people do a dance to it), mini guided yoga session, or evening get-together party. Allow the participants to jingle and mingle virtually (enable a group chat stream or a parallel channel where people can hang out).

Last but not least: hire a professional to execute your hackathon. Here we are, contact us at hello@corpohub.com.