All about the Hackathon

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What is Hack for Earth?

The Hack for Earth hackathon is a global online hackathon for two weeks from October 22 – November 7, 2021 with focus on finding real solutions to the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Throughout the two week hackathon period all teams brainstormed, developed concepts and worked together to create a solution that is in line with the jury criteria and that could be implemented to become real tools for the good of society.

All team members had access to mentors, workshops, open data, information on relevant subjects and other support from the partner community to be able to create the best solutions. 

The hackathon had 7 challenge categories that the teams could choose from to compete in:

The teams worked on the solutions at anytime that fitted their schedule during the two week hackathon period and then submitted their final solutions in one of the challenge categories. The hackathon was carried out 100% digitally.

Hackathon info

(The following information was sent out before and during the Hack for Earth hackathon and is kept here for reference.)

In order to make the hackathon information as easy accessible as possible we have divided all relevant information about how the hackathon is going to work in different sections.

1. Hackathon Schedule (Timezone: GMT+4)

18 October – Register an account on the hackathon platform TAIKAI and the communication platform Discord! (Need to be done by all members in the team.

18-22 October – Every Team Lead in each team creates a project in the hackathon platform and adds all team members into the project. (Make sure all team members have registered an account!) 

22 October 17.00 – Opening Ceremony (Livestreamed)

22 October 18.00 – Hackathon starts! (Registration to TAIKAI closes!)

24 October 18.00 – Deadline to submit your team information including challenge to hack on.

7 November 17.00 – Submissions closes! (Hand in your final solution!)

To see the full event calendar click here

2. Challenge Categories

You and your team will choose one of the seven challenge categories to compete in. To read more about each challenge category and all UN SDGs covered in each category click here.

3. Requirements

There are some important requirements for all team members to think about before starting with the hackathon process:

  • All team members need to be 16+ years old to participate in this global Hack for Earth Hackathon.
  • Alla teams need to register all their team members in our communication platform Discord and our hackathon platform TAIKAI before the hackthon starts (22 October). This means that all individuals that will compete in the hackathon need to be filled in the team registration, and these must be the actual participants. You will be able to update your registered team members in case things change along the hackathon period.
  • You can not use an idea that you have already hacked on in previous hackathons or information from previous pitches! Everything you do needs to be a new idea only developed during this hackathon.
  • Companies can compete but only with a new idea/product, no start-ups looking for funding for an existing idea can compete, nor any other existing solution or product can enter the hackathon.
  • Hack for Earth will take place digitally and therefore participation requires a stable internet connection and a laptop.

4. Submit your team information

Each team has 48h to decide on the team name, what hackathon challenge to compete in and to start the work. By 24 October 18.00 all teams need to submit a form with information about your team name, who all team members competing in the team are and what challenge category your team has chosen to compete in.

The submission of team information will happen in the hackathon platform TAIKAI where the final submission and jury evaluation also will take place. More information will come closer to the start of the hackathon.

5. Discord and useful channels

Discord is a chat platform and will be our main communication tool during the whole hackathon, so make sure you and all your team members join our discord to not miss any important information.

If you have not joined yet, join by clicking on this link! (If you don’t already have a Discord account you will need to create one)

If you have never used Discord before and want to know how it works, click here and watch this video

1) Add your team members as friends and create a DM group chat with your team.

To invite someone to a group DM you need to be Discord friends. So make sure to add all your team members as friends first!

  • Click on the home button (the discord logo on the left top corner) → Click ‘Add Friend’ and then search for your friends name (make sure to have the name + the identification number, you will find it on their name in the Hack for Earth Server on discord). 
  • Create an entirely new DM from the “Friends” screen, by clicking the “New Group DM” icon in the top-right corner or simply tick the names of the people you want to add or search for them in the text box. Once you've selected all the names you want to add, click “Create Group DM”.

2) Useful Channels 

  • You will also be able to connect with other hackers, organisers, partners and mentors through our public channels. You have automatically been invited to the relevant channels when you sign in the first time but as the hackathon continues more channels will be added. 
  • All important and updated information related to the hackathon will be posted in #announcements. If you have any questions Team Hack for Earth will answer your questions in #ask-the-organizers. 

6. TAIKAI – The hackathon platform

We will use a hackathon platform called TAIKAI for the team registration and the final submission. All team members need to be registered in the platform and each team needs to submit their team information in the platform before 24 October 18.00. TAIKAI is also the platform that the jury members will use to evaluate all the submitted solutions.

🙋🏽Take me to the hackathon platform

🖥 Instructions to how I sign up to the hackathon platform TAIKAI

7. The Jury Criteria (how to win)  

All solutions in the hackathon are to be judged on the following six criteria by the jury groups. There is no internal ranking between the criteria, they are all equally important. Each criteria will be given a point between 1-10.

Comprehensibility – Comprehensibility of the solution proposal’s value proposition and main use case

  • Is it easy to understand the solution?
  • Is it easy to understand how the solution works and how it will be implemented to solve the challenge? 
  • How well detailed is the description of the solution? 
  • Does it include an understanding of the key stakeholders and ecosystems that are relevant to the realisation of the solution?
  • Will the end users of the solution understand it too, or do they need special skills to take part of it or use it?

Realisability – Realisability of the solution from its current idea stage to implemented solution, used by its intended users in its problem context

  • How realistic is the timeplan?
  • Does the solution have access to all the needed data (if applicable)? 
  • How well are potential risks calculated for?
  • How soon can the solution be available to the intended users?
  • Is the technology mature enough (if applicable)?
  • Can a minimum viable product be created within 3 months?
  • Can a proof of concept be created within 6 months?

Innovativeness – Innovativeness of the idea behind the solution, as well as the intended technology to be used in an implementation of the solution (if applicable). 

  • In what way is this solution innovative?
  • Are there existing or similar solutions?
  • How does the solution differ from any existing solutions?

Scalability – Scalability of the solution if it is implemented and realized.

  • How many are experiencing the problem that this solution is intended to solve (if applicable)?
  • How well does this solution scale?

Solving the SDGs – Does this solution correlate to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and how well does it solve the challenge it is intended to address.

  • How well does the solution correlate to the SDGs?
  • In what respect does the solution solve one or more of the SDGs? 
  • How many in the solutions target audience would experience an improvement and how extensive would that improvement be?

Team – Dynamic of the team

  • How well is the team suited to realize the solution?
  • Has the team reflected on any additional needs in the team to realize the solution?
  • Are the members of this team motivated to invest time and energy to realize this solution?

8. Information regarding mentors  

All mentors available will be listed on our website under the tab Mentors Here you will be able to find information about all mentors including bios and what expertise they can help out with. You will also be able to get in direct contact with them via access to their Linkedin profile. Some mentors will also hold Q&A sessions and more information on how to join these will be published on the mentor page.

9. Hacker resources  

The Hack for Earth Team together with our partner community have created a page listing all resources that you as a hacker can use to help you in your process of creating real tools for the good of the society. To access all relevant tools click here.

10. Information that will come later  

  • Info about the final submission 
  • Detailed schedule (with live streams etc)
  • Prizes and the Award Ceremony in Dubai 
  • Build for Earth

‍If you have any questions, read our FAQ or reach out to us at 

With love, 

Team Hack for Earth