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How to Hack your Government Guide

Guide to organizing effective hackathons for governments to drive innovation, adaptability, and cross-sector collaboration.
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In recent years, governments worldwide have faced unparalleled challenges that necessitate a new level of speed, adaptability, and collaboration across public sectors (and often other sectors) for solutions. There are numerous methodologies for rapid innovation events, including sprints, ideathons, design sprints, hackathons, datathons, codefests, innovation challenges, and more. Each type of event has distinct timelines, team sizes, and itineraries; some events last only a few hours while others span a week.

This report focuses on one of the most effective and commonly used innovation events: the hackathon. Over 80% of Fortune 100 companies conduct hackathons to drive innovation, and more than 50% of hackathons are recurring events, indicating their reliability as a tool for sustained innovation. According to a 2-year analysis of 1,000 hackathons conducted globally, the United States hosted the most at 35%, followed by India and the United Kingdom. The Arab World urgently needs more hackathons!

This report also includes two successful recent case studies. The first is the UAE Hackathon 5.0 from 2022, which gathered over 2,000 participants, including school and university students, and local startups. The second is the renowned #hackthecrisis and #theglobalhack, initiated by a public-private partnership between Accelerate Estonia, Garage48, and Guaana. This global movement gathered over 200,000 participants in over 58 individual events, with eight solutions now utilized by government organizations in Estonia. Another success story from 2020 is Shield48, which signed a contract with the Latvian government to produce 10,000 masks just five days after their hackathon ended.