Hackathons: The Marathon of Innovation
Having its origin in the late 90's programmers meetings, the term Hackathons comes from the integration of the concepts marathon and hacker. In mobile apps, video games, and web development, a lot of progress was made with this tool. Pretty faithful to its origins, Hackathons are equally, in the innovation ecosystem, a rapid team alignment tool in an ideas marathon to build new stuff.
Now... When is the best time for a developers' sprint in your company?
Well, Hackathons are very effective in concrete situations for creating new solutions or tackling existing business or technology problems. And it's quite easy for a company to start from zero with these programs, simply allocating a large number of people in teams to build or “hack” these solutions.
For that, the dimension of the problem must be carefully evaluated as Hackathons, normally conducted over three days during a weekend, have a very short execution period. Thereby the challenge with this tool is to maintain the creative “momentum” once the sprint has ended.
Thought should also be given on how to challenge your team and focus the Hackathon considering the kind of engagement that is being sought and the type of teamwork atmosphere that these events generate. Coming from open software communities, participants in hackathons are deeply driven by gaining their colleagues recognition for their “hacks”.
Lastly, two ideas for a good starting: Use hackathons if you are looking for rapid prototyping or working on a beta.
At Imaginatik, we’ve been helping clients with hackathons for more than five years. Do you want to try?