Unlocking Society

Online Hackathon: Unlocking Society – returning to the new normal

Online Hackathon 11-15 May 2020

Inspirational Event: 22 & 29 April

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Theme: “Unlocking Society – returning to the new normal”


During the online hackathon we want to think ahead, the time when the state of public healthcare emergency is overcome. Will we be returning to normal and carry on? What challenges are waiting for our society, and how can individuals return to the new normal world? ….

Reality has a funny way of correcting itself and we currently find ourselves in the middle of a major, global crisis - but it is still our collective reality. Governments, institutions, business, and society are all, unilaterally and unquestionably, going to change as a result of the coronavirus crisis. While it appears that chaos and entropy are defining the world today, yesterday, and in the near future, certain groups of innovators, entrepreneurs, and intellectuals are taking the initiative to build a new normalcy. The funny thing about crises is that while they may bring global commerce to a standstill, they also have the power to mobilize people who know that they arent powerless to take action – NOW! On May 11, 12, and 13 the Brightlands Smart Services Campus, Corda Campus Hasselt, and DigitalHUB Aachen call upon the brave and idealistic of the Euregio to participate in a hackathon and contribute their time, energy, and enthusiasm to finding solutions to four specific problems brought about by the coronavirus. It is time for the Eurgio to join the fight against corona-caused entropy!


What is Hack4SmartServices?




It shouldn’t be a surprise when we say the world is changing fast. Digitization is becoming the core of all new and existing businesses. The reason for it is deeply rooted in the way we operate as human beings. We’re used to changing technologies, but when technology is changing so fast and deeply as it does today, it does not only change the game, it changes the rules of the game. Many businesses see business models they held on to for years, being challenged. On the other hand, technology provides so many new opportunities as well. If only you could grasp both the technology as well as the business model. If only, you could design the way the future would look like… If only, you could challenge yourself to become a part of that very future… If only…


During the hackathon you will tackle one of the challenges above, using technology. In a small team of 4-6 people, you come up with a solution and work out a proof-of-concept and business plan. Throughout the weekend coaches will help you with different aspects: how to use smart technology, set up experiments, analyze data and build algorithms, write software, make a business case and pitch your idea.


If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and/or a passion for technology, we would love to have you on board. We want to bring together people with different backgrounds: data scientists, engineers, software coders, user experience experts, marketeers, business people, investors … We are looking for students as well as professionals. You can register as a team or as an individual. In the latter case, we will link you with other participants that have complementary skills, so you form a great team.


You will discover new technology and meet a lot of people. You will learn how you can transform an idea into a real product. The best teams will be supported after the hackathon and might kick off their own tech start-up.



Due to Covid-19 (Coronavirus) the hackathon will take place fully online. All the participants can make use of the Discord server which will be used as the primary communication platform for this hackathon. Discord supports voice channels, texting, file sharing and screensharing within your team. The final pitches will take place via a livestream on Youtube


Schedule & Roadmap

Time Program Hackathon Day 1 (Monday May 11)
16:00 Hacking - Coaches will be available in this timeframe
19:00 Close of Day 1

Time Program Hackathon Day 2 (Tuesday May 12)
16:00 Hacking - Coaches will be available in this timeframe
19:00 Close of Day 2

Time Program Hackathon Day 3 (Wednesday May 13)
16:00 Hacking - Coaches will be available in this timeframe
19:00 Close of Day 3
Time Program Hackathon Day 4 (Thursday May 14)
n/a/td> Judges will assess the submitted solutions. Participants do not have to log in.
Time Program Hackathon Day 5 (Friday May 15)
11:00 Livestream: winner announcement
16:00 Close of Day 5

Final program may differ from the above



Inspirational Event

April 22 & 29, 2020

Join us online on April 22 and/or 29 for an evening of networking before the hackathon takes place to prepare and gain insights.

At this event, we will give you more information and details of the hackathon challenge.


May 11-15, 2020

Register here for the online hackathon itself. An opportunity to contribute to society during one of the most difficult periods in history.

You can still participate in the hackathon event, if you did not attend the inspirational event.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hackathon?
A hackathon is best described as an “invention marathon”. Anyone who has an interest in technology attends a hackathon to learn, build & share their creations over the course of multiple days in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. You don’t have to be a programmer and you certainly don’t have to be majoring in Computer Science.
Who can participate?
The hackathon is open to the public: everyone is welcome to participate.
Can we work as a team?
Teams with interdisciplinary skills are typically the most successful ones – a suggestion for a good team mix is to have members with these skill sets: User Experience and Design, Business and Marketing, Software Development, Data Analytics, …
What if I don't have a team?
No problem. There will be an open window at the beginning of the competition when teams can be formed with other registered participants.
What if I don't have an idea?
That’s normal. Most people don’t have an idea before they get to the event. But once you start talking to other people, you might come up with something. You can also work with someone else on his or her idea if you like it. And there will be prizes at the event which might help give you some ideas. Don’t worry about it, you’ll find something to work on.
What are the exact rules of engagement?
A hackathon is by definition an open innovation event which means that you will collaborate with others to come up with new innovative ways. We do understand that sometimes you may have other questions or concerns, so here you will find the official official rules and code of conduct.
Where will the hackathon take place?
Due to the coronavirus, the hackathon will take place fully online. Before the hackathon, participants who register will receive a Sparkboard link. Here they can share and join ideas and teams. During the hackathon itself, Discord will be used as the main platform to work and communicate with each other. There will be various Youtube livestreams during the hackathon to stay as close as possible to each other.



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