Universities in Europe have been confronted with a sudden and rather unprepared shift towards online teaching due to the Covid19 pandemic. New tools are needed to embrace digital solutions as opportunities for collaborations and innovation processes, also beyond times of social distancing.
The Virtual Hackathon method offers a practical approach to tackle this rising need. Inviting participants into open and co-creative innovation processes, Virtual Hackathon supports the process of two-sided transdisciplinary dialogues between students, researchers and societal actors. The concept, developed through the Erasmus+-project “Virtual Hackathon” offers digital and hybrid environments to co-create solutions for pressing technological or societal challenges.
Running from 2021-2023 the project will design and develop an innovative learning platform to create a virtual hackathon on any topic. Reference frameworks for the development of the virtual hackathon format is the concept of Just Transition as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The methodology of the Virtual Hackathon format will be based on Design and System Thinking. While Design Thinking has proven to be useful for innovation, the creative method by itself doesn’t seem sufficient when it comes to complex and sociotechnical challenges. Therefore, the complementary disciplines of Design Thinking and Systems Thinking will be combined within the Virtual Hackathon format. This way the Virtual Hackathon framework will be capable to leverage the creative, visual and action-oriented features of Design Thinking with the systemic understanding of reality.