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INNOVATION
THROUGH
HACKATHONS
A Three-Step Guide
*A HACKATHON IS AN EVENT WHERE PEOPLE WORK IN MIXED TEAMS TO RAPIDLY
PROTOTYPE A CONCEPT AROUND A SET CHALLENGE DURING A C...
2
IMPLEMENTATION
1
IDEA
3
INNOVATION
IDENTIFY A BUSINESS
CHALLENGE TO BE
SOLVED DURING
THE HACKATHON
IDEA
The challenge could, for example, be around
improving internal processes or designing a new
product offering.
You will als...
GET WHAT YOU NEED
TO MAKE YOUR
HACKATHON FLOW
IMPLEMENTATION
ORGANIZERS/FACILITATORS
The people that take care of getting everything kicked off with an
ideation session, making sure t...
IMPLEMENTATION
CONSTANT TESTING
The ideas need to be market-validated as soon as possible – the earlier
the better. That’s...
ENSURE THAT THE
BEST CONCEPTS
ARE EXECUTED AND
SUCCESSFUL
INNOVATION
There can be only one winner, but you might end up
with more than one promising concept. Make sure that
they are all execu...
THE FIRST END-TO-END
MOBILITY COMPANY IN
THE WORLD.
www.dminc.com
Hackathons are a fantastic way to engage employees,
cust...
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Innovation through Hackathons

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Accelerate change – hack your business! If you really want to innovate you have to hack your business. And what better way than to host a hackathon with employees and, potentially, customers or partners?

We’ve participated in and helped co-create hackathons for a number of our clients and also host internal hackathons on a regular basis. Here’s our how-to guide for a successful event, from idea to implementation to innovation.

Besides being a quick way for your company to innovate, hackathons can also provide invaluable experiential learning and help build new connections within your organization and beyond.

Published in: Mobile
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Innovation through Hackathons

  1. 1. INNOVATION THROUGH HACKATHONS A Three-Step Guide
  2. 2. *A HACKATHON IS AN EVENT WHERE PEOPLE WORK IN MIXED TEAMS TO RAPIDLY PROTOTYPE A CONCEPT AROUND A SET CHALLENGE DURING A CONDENSED TIME FRAME. IS YOUR COMPANY STILL TRYING TO INNOVATE USING BRAINSWARMING OR EMPLOYEE CROWDSOURCING? EVEN THOUGH THESE METHODS HAVE WORKED FOR SOME COMPANIES IN THE PAST, THERE ARE MUCH BETTER WAYS TO GO ABOUT INNOVATION. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO ACCELERATE CHANGE AND INNOVATE YOU HAVE TO HACK YOUR BUSINESS. AND WHAT BETTER WAY THAN TO HOST A HACKATHON* WITH EMPLOYEES AND, POTENTIALLY, CUSTOMERS OR PARTNERS? BESIDES BEING A QUICK WAY FOR YOUR COMPANY TO INNOVATE, HACKATHONS CAN ALSO PROVIDE INVALUABLE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND HELP BUILD NEW CONNECTIONS WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATION AND BEYOND. WE’VE PARTICIPATED IN AND HELPED CO-CREATE HACKATHONS FOR A NUMBER OF OUR CLIENTS AND ALSO HOST INTERNAL HACKATHONS ON A REGULAR BASIS. HERE’S OUR HOW-TO GUIDE FOR A SUCCESSFUL EVENT, FROM IDEA TO IMPLEMENTATION TO INNOVATION. ACCELERATE CHANGE – HACK YOUR BUSINESS!
  3. 3. 2 IMPLEMENTATION 1 IDEA 3 INNOVATION
  4. 4. IDENTIFY A BUSINESS CHALLENGE TO BE SOLVED DURING THE HACKATHON IDEA
  5. 5. The challenge could, for example, be around improving internal processes or designing a new product offering. You will also need: > Between 1,5 and 2 days allocated for your hackathon > Meal logistics plus snacks and drinks sorted A venue with a few separate rooms so that each team can have their own space. Time to start inviting your employees! Consider including a few customers or partners depending on the challenge you are trying to solve. If the hackathon will be around enhancing your customer service, who better to attend than customers themselves? IDEA
  6. 6. GET WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR HACKATHON FLOW IMPLEMENTATION
  7. 7. ORGANIZERS/FACILITATORS The people that take care of getting everything kicked off with an ideation session, making sure that everyone finds a team and setting the expectations and ground rules for the event. You will need 2 people facilitating for every 20 people attending. ATTENDEES/TEAMS The most important part of any hackathon. Aim to get a good mix of skillsets in every group; someone more design-oriented, a technical person or developer, a third person with strong business acumen, … Try to keep each group to between 3-5 people. SCHEDULE If possible, try to run your hackathon over 1,5 or 2 days. In the first case, start in the afternoon on Day 1, work through Day 2 and finish up with presentations in the evening. Calculate 15% for initial ideation and forming of teams, 70% for the hacking, and 15% for final presentations. DELIVERABLE What’s the final thing that needs to be delivered? Tech advancement of the project is of course nice, but there’s just not enough time to prepare something that works really well in such a short time frame. An idea that’s solid, tested, usable and feasible is usually what steals the jury’s hearts. Presentations are also a great way for the teams to show off their public speaking skills, and to find new, innovative ways of presenting the product or service. (continues on next page) IMPLEMENTATION
  8. 8. IMPLEMENTATION CONSTANT TESTING The ideas need to be market-validated as soon as possible – the earlier the better. That’s the way to overcome confirmation bias and confront the ideas with reality. No need for the whole team to sit at the desk and brainstorm when there’s a whole world out there to ask how they feel about the thing being created. PIVOT The teams need to be encouraged to change their ideas even in the most radical ways (pivot), and reminded that there’s no penalty in starting from scratch. We’ve seen teams win awards with stroke-of-genius ideas quickly scribbled during the last hour of a hackathon. MENTORING SESSIONS Get a few extra people – ideally someone with experience within the given challenge area – to walk around and meet with all the teams. The mentors should be available throughout the event to listen to concepts, provide feedback on product pitches, and give general guidance where needed. JUDGES (AND PRIZES) Have a few entrepreneurs, venture capitalists or senior stakeholders to join in as judges for who should win the hackathon. Leave enough time for them to comment on each solution as a fun way to create some competition between teams. If possible, have your company buy prizes to up the ante even more. Anything from flight tickets to Hawaii to a nice diploma and a handful of Amazon vouchers goes! IMPLEMENTATION
  9. 9. ENSURE THAT THE BEST CONCEPTS ARE EXECUTED AND SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION
  10. 10. There can be only one winner, but you might end up with more than one promising concept. Make sure that they are all executed by giving each team an executive sponsor with the responsibility of making it happen. Businesses that are prepared to change the way they work achieve enormous productivity gains, but how do you ensure that the initiative(s) from your hackathon is a success? We’ve previously shared a guaranteed way for organizations to generate a 10x ROI on enterprise apps explaining how you can verify needs and use cases, quantifying and prioritizing each opportunity. And remember: never forget to involve the end users throughout the development process. Our blog post on why employees won’t use your app covers common pitfalls and works as a handbook for how you scope, release, test, and iterate when creating a mobile solution. INNOVATION
  11. 11. THE FIRST END-TO-END MOBILITY COMPANY IN THE WORLD. www.dminc.com Hackathons are a fantastic way to engage employees, customers and partners and to hack your business. Interested in hosting a hackathon? Looking for a partner that can help you innovate? Contact us for more information!

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