Participation in Hackathons: A Multi-methods View on Motivators, Demotivators and Citizen Participation

  • Anthony SimonofskiEmail author
  • Victor Amaral de Sousa
  • Antoine Clarinval
  • Benoît Vanderose
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 385)


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.


Hackathon 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.

Supplementary material

494032_1_En_14_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (127 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 126 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony Simonofski
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Victor Amaral de Sousa
    • 1
  • Antoine Clarinval
    • 1
  • Benoît Vanderose
    • 1
  1. 1.Namur Digital InstituteUniversity of NamurNamurBelgium
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and BusinessKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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