The Hacker Games – Debut Event

The Hacker Games: UK’s top product engineering teams come together for SpecialEffect

Working at Knowit, we have been immensely fortunate to build long standing relationships with some of the coolest companies in the world.

With hackathons becoming increasingly popular in the software industry, I wanted to use this incredible network to not only just give back to the community but also for a charitable cause.

So we created The Hacker Games.

Hack 12

The Hacker Games is about putting some of the best minds and companies in a room to compete whilst helping some super causes.

After about 6 months of planning, we managed to get our first event off the ground in January this year.


Our first hack brought together nine of some UKs top engineering teams. Our competing teams came from all sectors and tech stacks which will provide a rich mix of ideas and technical solutions.

hack 6

Over the designated 48 hours of the Hackathon, teams totalling of 43 participants worked eagerly on one project all while talking, eating, and dreaming code!


“I joined The Hacker Games team to have fun and work with others on a cool project. It was an inspiring experience and we developed an application to aid people with memory loss”

– Natalie Akam, Agile UI Developer from competing team Trainline

hack 16

The theme was centred around digital products that would make a difference to the lives of those effected by disability.

This theme follows on from the work that our first charity partner, SpecialEffect does. Each team was tasked to create a product that covers at least one of the pillars of SpecialEffect; fun, inclusion and rehabilitation.


Given the short timeframe, all of the teams pitched and produced some incredible products for people with disabilities, so it was a tough decision for our judges!


After the final presentations, the ASOS team won first place taking home The Hacker Games trophy for their product Omni-Bell. This was part of their ‘Omni system’ concept hoping to aid people with hearing impairments.


Overall, I’m proud to say that we raised £8,500 which went all to SpecialEffect and the amazing work they do for people with disabilities in the UK.


I see the future of The Hacker Games as a great platform to address real world issues and make a difference through the power of digital technology.

No matter what the project, the spirit of hackathons remains the same – to try something new and walk away having learned a valuable lesson, even if you didn’t accomplish your goal.

Lastly, I would like to say a big thank you to all the people below involved in making The Hacker Games a success, we can’t wait to hold the next one which will be bigger and better! Watch this space.

Credit to: 

Charity: Tom Donegan & the SpecialEffect team
Judges: Martin Eriksson, Tanya Cordrey, Paul Egan
Teams: ANDigital, ASOS, DAD, Kano,, Rated People, Trainline, Travelex, Zopa
Host: Impact Hub
Sponsor: Knowit

 Team photo

If you would like hear more about The Hacker Games, or are interested in putting a team forward for the next hack then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Lilli Sampson
Marketing Manager

0203 693 9003

Twitter: @TheHackerGames

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