As its context becomes more and more understood and correctly applied, a universe of possibilities emerges from this evolution of brainstorming: The Hackathon.
The marathon of knowledge, integration, performance, optimism and learning brought by this methodology is huge for the software development world.
Imagine the mind of marathon runners, such as the traditional São Silvestre marathon in Brazil or the Boston Marathon in the USA. All that discipline, focus and concentration allied with the chemical explosion of the runner, transforming his physical energy into oxygen and strength to complete the event.
Remove the physical aspect of all of this action, all the muscle ware and the individuality of the event, and replace it with motivation, personal growth, satisfaction, team work and action to complete the event, and replace the race with an intellectual event, immersive, in synch with your own team and with opposing teams.
This is a Hackathon: A fantastic competition created to develop the best solutions to feed the innovation culture.
Moving the organizational culture forward
With this power moving the organizational culture, companies have chosen the programming marathon as a way to promote the development of new applications or solutions and foster a change in attitude during the creative process.
Innovation is the word of choice, but innovation has different interpretations for each company, and often what one considers to be a concept of innovation is actually not, which ends up creating a void where there is no room for mistakes.
In order to innovate, one needs to know how to create the key piece of the puzzle. This is why executives are choosing these types of productive meetings as part of the change process and transform the interpretation of the concept of innovation, creating opportunities for new ways to resolve old problems or to create products that surpass the expectations and create value for the organization.
Developing products that, aside from innovative, are also unexpected, better and more proactive than the initial scope. This transforms the company and makes it more agile and integrated, ready to handle the challenge of achieving results.
Innovation is cultural
Here, in our blog, we say this all the time. Innovation is not an isolated attitude but rather a culture to be established. More than changing the culture of innovation in the company, a marathon brings unexpected challenges for participants. This motivates, attracts and retains new talent for the team. If you have been asking yourself how to attract these programming rock stars to your organization, this is the answer you were looking for.
How to put it together
It all starts with what you want to build. Plan, seek out information, do a search.
Your idea must be clear, understandable and inspiring. By doing your homework your project will be executed by people who are not there for financial gains.
They exist and are important, but what inspires a “hackathonist” is the cause, the conquest, the victory that learning this work brings, and it is possible to see, in the eyes of the participants, the feeling and well being that this accomplishment produces.
Is it for my company?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a co-creation marathon is not for your company. It may seem difficult at first, but by understanding how it works everything becomes clearer.
First determine the development platform. At this stage, you will look at how the co- creation process will begin and who will be the guests to take part in it.
The stability of the platform and good planning during this stage will lead to fewer mistakes, fewer problems and more solutions on the path to developing the application. After the definition of the platform and APIs, the next challenge is to find talents for your team.
Top talent is waiting to be found
These potential talents can be inside your company, invited from the outside, at universities, in web portals or in your company’s social networks.
Talent is like a diamond in the rough, you find it, you know it’s a diamond, but if you refine it, it becomes a lot more valuable.
Sometimes, that is how a talent needs to be stimulated.
Recently, a Hackathon at Mercedes-Benz featured their own engineers but also made space for new developers to participate in the process through online registrations.
For the success of the marathon it is important to keep in mind some concepts that can be misinterpreted, making it so the Hackathon loses its real purpose. If this happens, all that was built can be lost.
How to do it
Let’s look at some of the main issues:
– The event should not be created with profits in mind, nor should it be used as a way to exploit people’s time or knowledge. It is a co-creation project. Creativity and freedom share a strong bond in this work;
– It is collaborative and competitive. Winning or loosing in this situation is not the most important thing. It is clear that the goal is to evolve and the different teams have different goals to reach. The competitive aspect aims to make things happen, evolve, and the victory of one team over another is for the satisfaction and realization of the project, not for the defeat of the opposing team. “I will beat you, for us”, this is the spirit;
– You must educate and inspire participants, clients and organizers. That diversity of minds and ideas interacting and building together fosters an environment of evolution;
– The space where the challenge will happen should provide trust, safety and recreation so that there is creative interaction. This new method of innovation came to change the way projects are undertaken in or out of the corporate environment.
– The goal is to create new solutions that move participants, ideologies and realizations forward. To do something new, something that will change the world; that is the main motivation behind a development marathon.
– Make the goal of the project clear, allow guests to have knowledge of the API used, after all, it is better to place all your energy in having a successful marathon.
Conclusion: the final goal is…
A well-organized Hackathon motivates, prospers and transforms the way people think inside and outside of the company. It solves problems, and fulfills and inspires leaders and their followers to contribute, participate and change the status quo for the better. Evolution: this is the real purpose of a Hackathon.