What the Hack? – Towards a Taxonomy of Hackathons

Paper by Christoph Kollwitz and Barbara Dinter: “In order to master the digital transformation and to survive in global competition, companies face the challenge of improving transformation processes, such as innovation processes. However, the design of these processes poses a challenge, as the related knowledge is still largely in its infancy. A popular trend since the mid-2000s are collaborative development events, so-called hackathons, where people with different professional backgrounds work collaboratively on development projects for a defined period. While hackathons are a widespread phenomenon in practice and many field reports and individual observations exist, there is still a lack of holistic and structured representations of the new phenomenon in literature.

The paper at hand aims to develop a taxonomy of hackathons in order to illustrate their nature and underlying characteristics. For this purpose, a systematic literature review is combined with existing taxonomies or taxonomy-like artifacts (e.g. morphological boxes, typologies) from similar research areas in an iterative taxonomy development process. The results contribute to an improved understanding of the phenomenon hackathon and allow the more effective use of hackathons as a new tool in organizational innovation processes. Furthermore, the taxonomy provides guidance on how to apply hackathons for organizational innovation processes….(More)”.