Spjarathon - a Hackathon ONLINE



An environmentally themed hackathon about solving the problems of the textile industry, online due to the Corona situation.


A hackathon is an event where people come together to solve problems. It was first used by computer programmers for software development, but the idea has spread to other areas. Gathering people with different competence and perspectives is used as a creative and fun way to get innovative solutions to humanity’s problematic relationship with for example textiles.


Due to COVID-19 the hackathon 2020, Spjaraþon, was moved to the online world.
The hackathon gathered participants to learn about the problems of the textile industry and to develop solutions to combat textile waste. Experts discussed the status of the problem and the design process – getting a good idea to develop into an effective solution that’s both realistic and useful. 
The jury consisted of First Lady Eliza Reid, Sigrún Ágústsdóttir director of the Icelandic Environment Agency, Kristján Mikaelsson managing director at Icelandic Blockchain Foundation and Magnea Einarsdóttir fashion designer and owner of MAGNEA clothing brand. The winning solution was Spjarasafn, an Airbnb for clothes. 
Spjaraþon was held online in August 2020, but the participants and jury were invited to a cocktail event three weeks later to celebrate the success.

For more details and a TO DO-list, see the description of the Plastathon held IRL in September 2019: /guide-organisations/plastathon-environmentally-themed-hackathon-iceland

Online learnings

The greatest challenge was to keep the technical side as simple as possible. We used Zoom for presentations and virtual rooms, Miro for visual collaborations and a Facebook group for announcements and communication with
We didn‘t use breakout rooms in Zoom in the idea storming phase, which did cause technical issues and some participants jumped off. However, 14 persons continued and executed great project ideas.

The challenges of Spjaraþon:
How do we get the public to reduce consumption?
How do we promote sustainability in the textile industry?
How do we get the public to extend the lifetime of their own textiles?
How do we ensure a better and more efficient recycling without loosing value?
How can we encourage the public to contribute to textile recycling?

It was very useful to have a manual sent out to everyone involved beforehand and to book experts help with the teams during their working phase.
The beauty of hackathons is that you get a group of people with various expert backgrounds to work on a challenge that they are mutually passionate about. The different backgrounds all bring something valuable to the table and that’s where great ideas come to life. The pros and cons of IRL versus online hackathons is quite obvious, IRL you will get a stronger dynamic atmosphere within the group whilst the pros of an online hackathon is that there are no geographical limits to participation.