If you are looking for a way to source ideas, innovative people and build a community of innovators, this post is for you. Think about a “festival of ideas” that is organized around your topics and your people: Fast-paced, fun, and extremely productive.
A hackathon allows for people from different backgrounds within your organization with a sense of enterprise to come together. Depending on your goals, a hackathon also allows for public participation which allows you to tap into open innovation and let you build a valuable community.
The structure of a hackathon is quickly described since its execution is highly structured. The entry point (Pre-Hackathon or Outreach) is critical because you build a perception of the event and that’s when you motivate to right people to join.
After the final pitches, the Hackathon seems finished, but in fact, the project starts. You might ask which project? The project of making the ideas fly (capturing value) and of building an innovators community.
Back to why we love hackathons?
The power of constraints
All the tasks during a hackathon are time-boxed and fast-paced. In the beginning, this seems like a limitation, but it proves itself as an innovation accelerator to work within a very specific time frame with the resources that they have on hand. It not just fights procrastination and prevents multitasking, but it increases productivity by creating a contest. People quickly learn how much can be achieved in a short time and they are very likely to take this back to their daily lives and eliminates overhead.
Identifying the people
The people that apply to your hackathon are just the entrepreneurial people you were looking for. They don’t just identify themselves, but during the hackathon, you have a lot of opportunities to establish productive relationships. In addition, people with different backgrounds and from different organizational units gather around ideas in a working setting. This is the most motivating way to tear down organizational silos!
Creating economic value
The process guarantees to either surface ideas or makes them fail after a first validation. Both outcomes create economic value. Either by acceleration or by pivoting (or shutdown) of initiatives that fail during validation. The key to success is how you interact with the successful teams after the hackathon. In addition, most of the participants and ideas go back to their workplace empowered and thinking differently about problems and processes in their organization
Allow for open innovation
I have to admit that we are very committed to open innovation (if you feel like reading our publications about it, click here). An impressive proof of its value was in the early months of the Covid-19 crisis when companies began to come together to work openly at an unprecedented level. The setup of your hackathon allows you to engage with different types of partners and selectively acquire ideas and resources from the external environment. It allows to widen the space for value creation, add complementary skills and unlock potential in relationships.
So what are you waiting for 😉.