Hackathons and what makers can learn from team work in a weekend competition

Team brainstorming at CleanWeb Hackathon Kyoto | Photo by Kyoto Design Lab

As we have just opened our Spring 2016 Batch Program Applications and started meeting hardware entrepreneurs, it’s not hard to meet makers who still question how to keep their own project after the Arduino functional prototype well succeed stage.

Most of them can’t estimate the future advantages on investing time, money and efforts to go to the next level and see their project as a serious thing, mainly because they’re thinking or building things alone to solve their own daily life problems, as a hobby only.

One of the startups from our Summer 2015 Batch Program, Atmoph is a result of two former Nintendo co-workers focused efforts who decided to take their maker’s mindset to a business level. You can check their investment has been in a long term commitment and they’ve gone a long way as a team but there is still a long way to go.

Atmoph Co-founders: Kyohi Kang (UI Engineer), Kyohei Nagano (Software Lead) joined Yoko Tarui (Designer) in order to produce a smart window. Credits: Atmoph

Then it comes the first recommendation for a maker: build a team, share not only good ideas and tasks, but also responsibilities, risks, fails and goals. Each member will bring its own vision and background to add value for the business, and that’s easy to notice on hackathons.

Last month, the first Cleanweb Hackathon was held in Japan, hosted by Kyoto Design Lab + Oriol Pascual, from IQS (Barcelona), and some professionals decided to join a 36h-journey event on their free time. The mission was to present an environment-friendly solution based on sustainable best practices: “a new concept that allows the world to do more with less.”

Some hackathon experts showed up at MTRL Kyoto (from “material”) with their kit full of tools and all kinds of materials — just in case, as the one recommended by Hackaday.

Hackathon attendees bring their own material for creating a new product from the sketch in a weekend | Photo by Kyoto Design Lab

The teams who had the best performance were the ones whose highly committed and experienced members worked together in order to achieve a great final pitch presentation, complementing each other’s knowledge. Engineers with business planners and designers shared their expertise in each phase of the process.

Our CEO Narimasa Makino was part of the judge, together with a team of Senior entrepreneurs who could evaluate the results achieved after one weekend. It was impressive to realise how diverse the projects were.

But what if those efforts were focused on key points for our society worldwide, including issues that affect not only developed countries, but also the least developed nations, where basic needs are still a promise for some long far future?

According to Hardware by the Numbers, a report at the origin story of hardware startups, here there are some key hardware areas that have been benefiting from the makers pro movement:

  1. Health
  2. Energy
  3. Financial Services/Insurance
  4. Agriculture
  5. Logistics and Transportation

So if you’re considering the idea to build a hardware startup and start making some serious stuff, you have a great chance to try a new experience: Slush Asia will co-host a Junction Hackathon next month in Tokyo and applications are open now.

Originally published at makersboot.camp.