Hackathon: How to kindle the passion for innovation in your company

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In order to be able to innovate in life and in business, it’s key to overcome routines and surpass standards. This is why hackathons are so valuable: they provide a break from day to day activities, a deep immersion and a collective goal that aligns business efforts.

Hackathons mean collaboration, competition, learning, exchange, adrenaline, fun, work, delight and satisfaction.

In this post, we will show you two aspects of the organization of such a meeting: defining the objective and the organization team behind it. Good reading!

Agile methods and paradigm shifts

With the agile manifesto from the early 90s, agile methods emerged as an important counterpoint to the traditional management and software engineering models.

While traditional methods sought to value control and inflexibility, which led people to act as machines in a highly predictable assembly line, a group of developers moved by the desire to simplify work and valuation of the human proposed the agile manifesto, where:

  • Individuals and interactions are more important than processes and tools;
  • Functional software is more important than comprehensive documentation;
  • Customer collaboration is more important than negotiating contracts;
  • Responding to change is more important than following a plan.

These characteristics are, in some way, an organic response to the modus operandi of society right now, in which nothing is permanent. Instead, we are seeing a cultural shift due to the way different generations communicate amongst themselves when coordinating companies, which determines whether there is a high or low level of engagement in promoting a corporate culture focused on innovation.

The marathon is not just a tool change, which aims to turn co-creation into a working methodology, it is also useful to prepare teams for new project challenges, the development of new skills, amongst others.

In order to do so, we need to have a diagnosis of the organization’s momentum, as well as set well-aligned goals with the most relevant issues in that scenario.

Setting an objective

You can aim for goals such as:

– Identify students with a good professional potential,

– Improve the company’s public image amongst software entrepreneurs and developers,

– Take the first steps towards the world of Hackathons,

– Train employees or identify new solutions to a difficult problem. The important thing is to define a broad goal.

It’s crucial to set a goal to direct the event, as well as the form of disclosure and the profile of the people who should be invited.

So, seek a consensus among all stakeholders.

The organization team

The organization and the execution of the Marathon requires the involvement of a multidisciplinary organization team, including a chairman, mentors, speakers, support staff, marketers, video and photo producers, members of the board of judges.

Chairman

It is the gear that allows the participants and the organization team to move in synch.

Must be present from the start of the event greeting participants and the entire team, as well as directing the whole dynamic, always communicating with the participants and the organization team.

Mentors

Mentors will show the direction to be taken to the teams.

They will define the analysis to be carried out, they will help guide the work to a more interesting direction. They will also help with the convergence of views amongst team members and will often raise awareness that people are working on a new business.

Speakers

Choose speakers and the subjects to be taught wisely, so that they can add as much value as possible to the work being performed. If your Hackathon is institutional, a good strategy is to bring people from outside the organization to speak.

This will bring a “fresh mind” and can help break paradigms and corporatism itself.

Support team

Includes members of the organization team who will help set the equipment, prepare the environment and transport the equipment. Remember to think about the team that will carry out activities such as coffee break service, cleaning the room, amongst others.

Marketing professionals

Different actions can be triggered by this team, which should merge skills in order to work with online and offline marketing.

Video and photo producers

They are key when it comes to generating memorabilia, and they should not only record the main activities of the event, but also the ideas and their creators. Therefore, it’s positive for the team to have know-how on how to carry out interviews.

Board of judges

This board will evaluate the performance of all the teams that participated in the Hackathon and select the best ones. This selection should be based on a pre-defined set of criteria.

Think carefully when selecting participants for the board, take their professional experience and reputation in the market into account.

Whitepaper - Hackathon



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