What is it about ?
The term Hackaton comes from a combination of two seemingly unrelated words: Hack – a quick job that produces what is needed – and Marathon – a long lasting or difficult task/operation of a specified kind. This gives the definition of hackathon: an intensive event in which a large number of people meet to engage in creating unexplored solutions.
Who should use it ?
Organisations that look for a challenging way to explore the potential of a product, service or idea. Engaged corporate teams that like to be pulled out of their comfort zone and that want to be a part of an intensive but unforgettable startup experience. In short, if you want to reinvent one of your existing products, a hackathon is what you’re looking for!
Ulster (RBS) Bank’s hackathon #HackMakeTheBank in The Vaults – a dedicated events place for Dublin’s tech scene. The corporate hackathon at Ulster took place over 3 days and produced innovative ideas of services for their customers. Over 130 people participated all weekend, from members of Ulster Bank’s IT team, to developers and entrepreneurs to local university students.
Steps to set up a Hackaton
1: Define the target group of hackathon
2: Arrange location, sponsors, promote your hackathon
3: Set your rules for the hackathon event
4: Ensure fluidness of the event
5: Award the best project and the best team in the hackathon
Short term benefit is the huge amount of energy and motivation created within the organisation and the participants, along with the chance to see problems differently and receiving immediate feedback from customers on original ideas investigated during the hackathon. The final result of #HackMakeTheBank was a presentation of over ten ideas built from scratch with testable prototypes, something impossible to obtain with a traditional approach.
Advice for starters
Generally speaking, corporate hackathons are organised for well established companies as an innovation tool, usually with a mix of both internal and external participants to maximise the benefits. Hackathons for corporates have both short-term and long-term benefits that make them a long-term investment with immediate returns.
Where to find more info?
Harvard Business Review – https://hbr.org/2016/04/hackathons-arent-just-for-coders
Who are you going to call?
Business Models Inc
Organize your own hackathon – http://corporate.hackathon.com/