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Blog Posts (105)

  • Why we love Hackathons?

    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 😉.

  • What happens after a Corporate Hackathon?

    A corporate hackathon is a great instrument to develop an internal innovator’s community, source ideas and pass the first validation steps. Looking back at such events from 30 to more than 30’000 participants, we know how they boost motivation and we have great stories to tell. But let me talk about the tricky moment after the hackathon when your employees go back to their everyday work routine. Your goals? What were your goals in the first place? Very likely you wanted to accelerate innovation by sourcing internal ideas and to identify a community of people that are like-minded. Maybe you also have invited external contributors to capture value from them using an open innovation approach. So far so good: Ideas and community. Capturing value from ideas As we are all aware that it’s not about the idea itself, but about its execution. Successful startups are built around people and purpose, and ideas may pivot. The same applies to corporate innovation. Or in other words, the journey of the winning teams starts at the final pitch of the hackathon. It’s a beginning, but not an end. So here are my thoughts about how to proceed with the selected ideas: The (diverse) team is more important than the idea. Allow them to work together as a group independently of your organizational structure. The journey from idea to value is the magic sauce. Allocate a budget, that allows the people to work on it over a longer time. Many great ideas disrupt the existing structures. Be sure that an executive sponsor mentors the team in order to responsibly break existing rules. Define and enforce rigorous milestones. Don’t nourish “zombie projects”, but keep a sharp focus on the constant delivery of customer value. Building an innovator community As already mentioned, one of your goals was very likely to gather people, and the success of the hackathon was rooted in the exchange between them. Why not keep this up and build on it? Plan for an innovators community together with the initial hackathon, not just as a post-event task. Make the people (internal and external) your innovation ambassadors. They don’t expect much more than opportunities to exchange and contribute. Be attentive to cultural artifacts: Hackathons are interdisciplinary, communicative and fast-paced. This is what the community experienced and thus expects in the following time. A community tool might help you to keep up the process and (even more importantly): The wrong tool will kill the spirit you’ve just won during the hackathon. And your experiences? Because open innovation processes and events are our daily job, we are very interested in hearing your opinion. Or do you want to write a guest post? Please drop a message at

  • What a start of H18–Beaulieu Circulaire

    To inaugurate H18–Beaulieu Circulaire, Impact Hub Lausanne organized a week full of events. The new space is not just their “nouvelle maison d’Impact Hub Lausanne”, but also the first innovation space dedicated to Circular Economy and Inclusion in Switzerland. A fascinating location in the beautiful town of Lausanne. We attended the first day packed with pitches of the 23 startups from the Circular Economy Transition Incubator cohort 2023 followed by the official opening ceremony. The range of the pitches was extremely broad. From “simple” solutions that share unused materials in your cellar (Circular Lugano) or the reuse of children’s toys (Circle Toys) to optimizing the recycling process of car wrecks (Grensol) or a cement floor replacement made out of wood and soil (rematter). Just lay back and watch the pitches... Any personal favorite? Hard to say but producing Vodka (Ampuja) or Ice Cream from food waste (Glace Löööv) is hard to refuse – isn’t it? The second part of the day was dedicated to welcoming notes including Rebecca Ruiz (member of the council of state in the canton of Vaud), Raphael Conz (Head of Economic Promotion and Innovation in the canton of Vaud), Pierre-Antoine Hildbrand (city councilor of Lausanne) and Nicolas Gasztonyi (Managing Director Beaulieu SA). In addition, two round tables were held. One was about the challenges to transition towards a circular and sustainable economy and the second was about new participatory models to accelerate the transition including Kickstart Innovation. One takeaway from the panels was the closing wish of Julien Bucher: Find ways to include Swiss SMEs on this journey. Only in the canton de Vaud, there is a roughly estimated number of about 30’000 SMEs. Fifteen of which (!) participate in this years Environmental Action program. Way to go! Thank you ImpactHub for organizing such a day and such a space!

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Other Pages (37)

  • CEO Dinner Zurich | Kickstart Innovation

    CEO Dinner Zurich Text Agenda tktk 01 / 05 Contact us to learn more Looking forward to meeting you tktk

  • Team Sprints | Kickstart Innovation

    Team sprints At the start of a new project, experiencing a roadblock or fork in your team or you’ve just uncovered new insights to leverage? Team sprints are a way to efficiently design, test and develop a proposed solution to your business problem with a customer-centric mindset. Based on a highly structured, time-boxed approach developed by Google Ventures , we provide business value by helping your teams quickly test hypotheses and tackle specific strategic business questions. Our offer We organize and lead you through sprints with a strong focus on hands-on work and team dynamics. The standard format is a five-day process, which we split or shorten on your request. Depending on your goal, we complete the interdisciplinary setup by people from our innovation ecosystem to best deliver results. 01 / 04 Selected partners Contact us to learn more Let's connect To help our 300+ alumni startups achieve their missions, we manage a large open innovation community of experts and advisors. Become part of this group of individuals that come together to share ideas, knowledge, and resources to solve problems and create new opportunities

  • Expert Sessions | Kickstart Innovation

    Expert sessions Using a coaching approach, we offer an outside-in view on your business challenge and allow you to exchange and grow with experienced experts and advisors from our innovation ecosystem. Overcome the day-to-day routine by tapping into informal exchange with people that have already mastered your challenge. Our offer Kickstarts organizes tailored 1:1-sessions with experienced startups experts and advisors to talk about the next step of your innovation journey, or whatever business challenge you want to tackle. The sessions are setup as single, timeboxed events or as continuous mentoring relationships. 01 / 04 Selected partners Contact us to learn more Let's connect To help our 300+ alumni startups achieve their missions, we manage a large open innovation community of experts and advisors. Become part of this group of individuals that come together to share ideas, knowledge, and resources to solve problems and create new opportunities.

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