How to organize internal corporate hackathon

Hackathons, where developers, engineers and industry professionals meet, are perceived by business as a source of knowledge, inspiration and new talents. More and more companies are also turning to internal hackathons to streamline processes and improve their employee skills. We will show you what your company can gain and what is important during organization internal hackathon.

The best way to inspire your team…

One of the best ways in which you can inspire your team is by arranging an internal corporate hackathon. Hackathons are a very good exercise for the company staff and they can help in promoting collaboration, innovative thinking and creativity. It is also an opportunity for corporate employees to step outside of their regular role. Hackathons usually focus on engineering, innovative ideas and entrepreneurship. A corporate internal marathon can be seen as an extreme team-building challenge that sharpens the minds of the people working in your organization which can result in several interesting and innovative ideas.

…and to improve your business

Apart from tightening ties between employees, internal hackathons can, and even should, also be used to improve business processes. The meeting of specialists of different levels and different departments enables to create new solutions and helps to develop or test a product. It also allows controlling the company’s data, diagnosing possible problems in communication, decision-making process or customer service.

Tips&tricks

Organizing an internal corporate hackathon takes a bit of effort and needs some level of planning. But believe it — it’s not a waste of time. By keeping in mind the following points, you will be able to organize a successful internal corporate hackathon.

  1. Picking up a theme that is related to the work your company is doing is one of the most important things that you must keep in mind. The theme of the event should be decided and communicated to the participants before the event so that they have time to prepare for the hackathon. The main focus of the event should always be in terms of technology that can be used to solve different business-related problems.
  2. Participation rules is another very important thing that must be considered before the event. You must decide on the people who are eligible to compete in the hackathon. Be lenient with the rules so that you can encourage more people to attend the event without compromising the integrity of the event.
  3. You must also decide on the minimal deliverables that are required in order to successfully submit the project. The deliverables can include but are not limited to a functional prototype, source code, predictive model, pitch video etc.
  4. The criteria and process for assessment of submissions should also be defined and communicated to the participants before the event. The rules, priorities and the processes in which the submissions will be evaluated should be clearly defined. You need to decide whether there will be a voting system or a panel of experts that will evaluate submissions.
  5. You must make sure that the goals that you set for a successful submission are attainable. This will not only encourage people to participate in the event but also make sure that there is not too much pressure on the participating teams. You must decide before the event the things that you want to accomplish. Setting attainable goals is a great way to not only make your employees feel motivated before the event but also accomplished after the event. 
    “If people are going to give up a day or a couple of days to work on something, it needs to be for a compelling reason, it’s also important to make sure that your goals align with attendees” — says Tomasz Florczak from Challengerocket.com, a platform for hackathons which helps companies organizing such events.
  6. Although a structure free methodology is often used by companies because it works as a foundation of innovative ideas, every hackathon requires a certain level of direction and organization. You must make sure that things like venue, time, participants, rules, scope, criteria etc. are organized and decided before the event.
  7. Another great way of encouraging people from your company in participating in such events is by setting a prize or award for the winner of the competition.

The internal hackathon can boost your business, opening new opportunities for growth of your company and your employees. If you still have doubts, look at Fortune 500 companies — they can not be wrong.