JSB Talks Digital Transformation – Hackathons

Hackathons for Digital Transformation

JSB Talks Digital is a weekly digital marketing and social media podcast hosted by author, strategist, consultant, speaker and trainer Joanne Sweeney-Burke. Each Friday Joanne shares her digital marketing and social media insights from her work as CEO of Digital Training Institute. In this episode she brings you her podcasting tips.


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This special series of podcasts will take a forensic look at how different sectors are embracing digital transformation in their organisation.

In this, the second in a series of special shows on Digital Transformation, I look at how hackathons are being used as a tactic to help solve problems that have a digital solution.

A Hack is defined as: A crude yet effective, highly creative and unorthodox solution to a problem you can’t solve by conventional means.


Coming up in today’s show

  • I have a digital transformation conversation with Leo Exter, Co-founder of Hack Belgium;
  • Shout-outs: 3 reasons to attend The Hack Belgium Festival in May;
  • JSB’s column – Digital Transformation | Conservatism to Disruption; and
  • Find out what social media tool saved my working week.


Interview | Leo Exter, Hack Belgium

Leo Exter In this episode I interview Leo Exter, Co-founder of Hack Belgium or as he likes to be known, Chief Energizer. I caught up with him at the Hack Belgium launch party in Brussels during a recent business trip to the EU Parliament.

Leo Exter is Partner at Hackathons.be – a specialist consultancy firm that helps large corporations such as BNP Paribas Fortis and Saint-Gobain accelerate innovation and rejuvenate corporate culture through innovative events such as ideation workshops, startup acceleration programs, design sprints, and hackathons.

Leo has created a multitude of events for startups (Bizcamp, Buy From Startups and established Startup Weekend in Belgium), and is currently working on the biggest startup event yet: Hack Belgium. Over the last five years he’s directly mentored dozens of startups and managed the Microsoft Innovation Center’s Boostcamp acceleration program.



JSB’s Column | Digital Transformation | From Conservatism to Disruption

I have been studying how conservative organisations are embracing the information age in their quest to transform digitally. Based on my research and practice, I have come across a common formula being used by a range of companies.

Did you know that police forces are using social video to engage with Gen Z, or that millennial trainee doctors are learning emergency medicine with augmented reality?

What about the political party that is funnelling social media fans with live video for voter engagement, or the country that has a nation engaged in a hackathon?

This year I will develop a signature talk on this very topic and will present a range of case studies illustrating how you can move mindsets, change behaviour and transform your organisation by opening the door to digital.

Here’s some questions you might ask yourself when moving from a conservative or even cynical standpoint when it comes to digital and technology:

  • Establish if you are relevant to your audience right now. Are you providing a service, adapting a product or communicating digitally to benefit your customer experience?
  • How are you using video – social, live and augmented reality to communicate, to provide better customer service or even to improve your current product or service?
  • How are your competitors or your industry at large evolving? Are you ahead or behind the curve?
  • What talent do you have and what talent do you need to digitally transform?
  • Can you get external expertise to help you through this process?
  • What challenges are you going to face – financial, staff buy-in, knowledge and skills or is it time?
  • How much do you want this? What is your why in your digital transformation? Are you driven by a shared goal and vision to be relevant today and better tomorrow?

I am working on a series of case studies of organisation’s that have embraced digital to great effect. So stay tuned to this podcast series to learn more.

If you want to have a Digital Transformation conversation with me. Simply drop me an email to joanne@digitaltraining.ie. Everything starts with a story or a conversation.


Shoutouts | Why Attend Belgium’s Hackathons 

How to HackIn this episode I’m giving shout-outs to Hack Belgium and three reasons why you should attend their upcoming Festival in May. Organisers describe the festival as: A massive hack festival to build a better Belgium.

Hack Belgium is the first hackathon being organised with a country’s problems in mind. I love the organisers’ big vision! They say they’re creating the biggest concentration of talent, expertise and resources Belgium has ever seen. All primed for a single purpose: to help!”

The Hackathon will not just focus on one part of life in Belgium. In fact they have set 15 herculean challenges to build a better Belgium. From Smart Sustainable Agriculture, to Inclusive, Seamless Financial Services, a clean circular nation and work for all. It truly is an inspiring vision.

Lastly, you can attend the 3-DAY FESTIVAL OF INGENUITY, TECHNOLOGY AND BUSINESS INNOVATION FOR A BETTER BELGIUM and learn from this country-hack concept for your country or perhaps your organisation? Tickets are now on sale for as little as €75.

Hack Belgium takes place on 4-5-6 May 2017 in Brussels. You can find out more by logging on to: http://hackbelgium.be

The are also have a Facebook Group called Hack Belgium and are on Twitter as @hackbelgium and Instagram as well.


Social Media Tool of the Week: Snaptag Editor

Have you ever wondered how to brand your Snapcode? Well the social media tool that saved my working week is Snaptag Editor

It allows you to upload your logo, a photo or another png or jpg file to sit behind the Snapcode ghost icon. You can also change the colour of the QR Code square to match your branding.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Log onto https://snaptageditor.com/
  2. Add your snapcode
  3. Upload a background image of your choice
  4. Change the background size to it fits perfectly into the ghost icon
  5. Change the background colour to match your brand
  6. And then download it
  7. You can use this new Snapcode on your website, as your social profil picture and on your business card and email signature.



Here’s my customised Snapcode!

Now off you go and pimp your Snapcode by logging onto https://snaptageditor.com/


I love feedback

I’d love to know what you think about this episode. So please get in touch by commenting below or tweet me @tweetsbyJSB or send me a snap to jsbsnaps.

Review JSB Talks Digital on iTunes


Listen: JSB Talks Digital | Episode #34

I would like to thank Eoghan Murphy aka The Galway Gamer for producing my podcast series and to Flirt FM on the campus of NUI, Galway where I am based for the use of their studio.

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