Material 03.10.2019

Hackathon as a digital youth work innovation method

This material describes the modified Hackathon framework that Verke has used to support new youth work innovation in practitioner training settings. Originally hackathons (also known as hack days, hackfests or codefests) have been design sprint-like events in which computer programmers and others involved in software development have collaborated intensively on software projects (Source: Wikipedia).

In our version, we invite youth workers to innovate new solutions to problems in the field on a very brief and short time scale. This is meant to serve two primary purposes: the condensed time scale forces youth work practitioners to move on very rapidly with innovating new solutions, which is often problematic in our field. Secondly, the inherent “pitching” in hackathons forces youth workers to clarify their concept and present it in unambiguous and precise terms.

This method has been tested in both national and international contexts, most recently in a youth work training course in Saudi-Arabia. The feedback is varied, with some hating the rushed process and others loving the intense way of working. Your results may vary.

Hackathon as a digital youth work innovation method

These training materials have been developed as part of the ‘Digital Youth Work’ project, a strategic partnership between 7 organisations across Europe, to build the capacity of the youth work sector to deliver high quality youth work in a digital age.

The resources from all partners are available at