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Inclusive Innovation: Why Diversity Matters at the Hackathon


What is a hackathon?

We all are well aware of the literal definition of what a hackathon is, but what exactly a hackathon is...A hackathon is a space where our crazy ideas shape into reality! Just imagine sitting in a place full of like-minded folks, brainstorming with a team, hacking for prolonged hours, testing and deploying, networking and making connections, building projects and much more. A space that comes with inclusive innovation drives an individual or teams to work together towards achieving collaborative goals. A space where hacks don't remain hacks but turn into mind-blowing projects or startup ideas.

Diversity & Innovation

Innovation is driven by collaboration, imagination, creativity and differing qualities or diversity that provide novel solutions to meaningful problems. Inclusive innovation is a concept that combines these fundamentals and creates space where individuals irrespective of their background come together to learn and grow. As said, diversity fuels creativity and innovation but diversity isn’t a tick box or check box exercise. It requires a commitment to bring change and live in an all-inclusive environment. One of the best examples of this is the technical communities and hackathons that aim to foster an inclusive environment where people of diverse backgrounds, genders, and cultures can collaborate and innovate for good. These communities are spaces with zero tolerance for discrimination or other exclusionary behavior. They value diversity and acknowledge unique, diverse perspectives leading to revolutionary ideas.

Why diversity matters!

Hackathons are events that promote teamwork, creativity and problem-solving. In recent years hackathons have evolved in such a way that geographical boundaries do not limit inclusiveness. There are offline and online spaces where programmers, coders and tech enthusiasts convene to share knowledge, build solutions and inspire one another.

Hackathon is an excellent way of collaborating for the greater good and that is why diversity and inclusivity play a major role in hackathons in its many aspects to construct to a true hackathon experience.

2-way street

A hackathon is a competitive event where individuals/teams together develop solutions. Learning is a 2-way street. One can seek guidance from experienced and in return can share their perspectives or ideas.

Innovation creativity and enhanced decision-making.

Diverse teams bring diverse perspectives, experiences and backgrounds as team members approach problems and tasks from various angles. This in turn leads to comprehensive and thoughtful decisions to solve the problem.

Better Adaptability

When put in situations of extreme pressure and stress diverse teams often adapt to such rapid change in the environment as there are people in the team who have different skills that benefit the team and make the difference.

Mentorship and Guidance

Navigating the complexity of coding or project building becomes a comparatively easier process when seasoned developers act as guides. There are mentors who offer all the required support to those just starting their journey.

Recognition and Appreciation

Acknowledging and celebrating achievements also gives a sense of belongingness. At hackathons, one gets to network and collaborate with like-minded folks and share stories of shared struggles. A spirit of technical expertise and inclusive innovation is shared.

Measuring Success

Success here is not about having coding skills or winning the hackathon but about together building a welcoming environment fostering equal participation. It is about committing to Inclusive innovation. Matrix for success go beyond lines of code and are scaled upon lives touched and problems solved for a social cause or greater good.

Challenges to Diversity Inclusion & Shaping of Future.

Inclusive innovation is not limited to coding in hackathons. It has to expand its horizons for advances in all aspects, be it technical or real-life problem-solving. Evidently, it is a task to address challenges that obstruct the inclusive environment and fostering of diverse perspectives but that is what Inclusive Innovation is all about, where everyone is sitting at the table and innovating for Good.

Author:Sakshi HardwaniOrganizer, Hack This Fall Hack This Fall Logo
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