Participation in Hackathons: A Multi-methods View on Motivators, Demotivators and Citizen Participation
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Hackathons are problem-focused programming events that allow conceiving, implementing, and presenting digital innovations. The number of participants is one of the key success factors of hackathons. In order to maximize that number, it is essential to understand what motivates people to participate. Previous work on the matter focused on quantitative studies and addressed neither the topic of demotivators nor the relationship between participation in hackathons and citizen participation, although hackathons constitute a promising participation method where citizens can build their own project, amongst other methods such as meetings or online platforms. Therefore, in this study, we examined a specific hackathon organized in Belgium and collected data about the motivators and demotivators of the participants through a questionnaire and in-depth interviews, thereby following a multi-methods approach. This study contributes to the scarce theoretical discussion on the topic by defining precisely the motivators and demotivators and provides recommendations for hackathon organizers to help them bring in more participants. Furthermore, from our exploration of the relationship between participation in hackathons and citizen participation, we suggest a citizen participation ecosystem embedding hackathons to provide benefits for the society.
KeywordsHackathon Motivator Citizen participation Multi-methods
We would like to thank the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) for their support. The research pertaining to these results received financial aid from the ERDF for the Wal-e-Cities project with award number [ETR121200003138] and the Federal Science Policy according to the agreement of subsidy [BR/154/A4/FLEXPUB]. We also thank the members of CSLabs who agreed to integrate our research in the event they organized. Finally, we thank the participants of the hackathon who, despite the tight schedule, dedicated time to our research.
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