Moving your ideas forward

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Years ago a friend told me “ideas are cheap. What sets people apart is the implementation”. It was a provokation… they had heard me share another wild idea, but were (understandably) frustrated from hearing yet another scheme that probably wouldn’t be followed through.

Kingdom Code ideaton evening

At the last Kingdom Code meetup we spent the evening coming up with ideas… we heard from both Bible Society and Stewardship, about their mission, about how their Christian ethos has challenged them to make a difference, how they’ve been working over many years to see it realised, and where they see their challenges now. Then over the course of the rest of our evening we came up with many ideas riffing off the challenge statements, exploring how digital skillsets could help resource these organisations further. Now what? Do we just sit on our ideas until the hackathon in October?

Of course not… Now is the time to invest in those ideas…

1. Validate the concept with other people

In the coming weeks who could you talk to about your idea? Who could you ask to give you feedback about it? Who could be helpful in helping you to refine the concept or challenging your assumptions?

Bible Society’s challenge is around helping people build an appetite for reading the Bible. Could you speak to a few people in your church on Sunday and ask them about where they struggle with reading the Bible and ask them their thoughts on your ideas concept…?
Or could you explore the ideas behind Stewardship’s challenge about creating and enabling generosity in the Christian community? What things have helped get your friends excited about giving to a particular cause in the past? What challenges have they experienced in acting on those good intentions?

2. Mature the idea

Now that you’ve got some feedback on your idea it’s highly likely that you’re going to want to make some changes! Refine that idea down, tweak it, adjust it, get pen and paper out, work it out.

You might want to map out all the functionality that you need to include, or do some sketches of how an interface might need to come together. Don’t forget the content for your product either… what content will you need to write or develop?

3. Find other people to help you realise it

A hackathon is a team sport, not a single player event. On Friday night you’ll get 1 minute to share your idea and project with the rest of the room to form a team… but there’s no rules against having a team already onboard. Do you know someone with the skillsets to help make your idea fly? Maybe a designer? A content writer or database engineer? Sell your idea to them and get them to sign up with you.

Maybe you don’t know anyone yet… that’s fine. You can sign up to Kingdom Builders, the Slack team where we hang out. Join the #hack-in-ldn channel and share your idea there, get others thinking about it early!

4. Plan out what you’re going to make

Regardless of how big or small your idea is, there is only so much that you’re going to be able to make during a 24 hour hack event. So make a plan of what you want to build.

Remember that a good project isn’t a crazy level of functionality - you’ll never be able to build all of that in the short time that we’re going to have together. Instead, think about what a slice of product will look like from functionality through to a great user experience… That way at the end of the hackathon you’ll be a lot more likely to have something that is ready to ship…

Your hackathon project should aim to be functional, reliable, useable and enjoyable, not just functional

It’s okay to arrive having done groundwork already, be that sketching out some design concepts, setting up your development environment, installing all of the software libraries you’re going to need. Do everything you can so that you and your team can hit the ground running.

There you go, that is four things you can do between now and Friday 19 October to help get your idea ready for the hackathon. And… if you haven’t already, you can sign up at

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