MarketInvoice’s First All Company Hackday
Last Monday, MarketInvoice ran its first company-wide Hackday. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a hackday is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development collaborate intensively on software projects. They’re really great ways to get people who don’t usually work together to solve problems together, or give them the license to work on something different.
Inspired by Google’s 20% time, MI’s tech team has an innovation day every other Monday; many of the projects have gone into production but more importantly we think it keeps us learning. Feedback from the rest of the company though was that they’d also like some time to innovate and work on problems that bug them every day. So our first all company Hackday was born!
Hacking isn’t just for engineers
While we have a code club and training available to employees, we didn’t want people to be put off by not being able or interested in coding. We made crystal clear that this hackday wasn’t just for technical hacks. A hack is simply changing something up, without the need for the solution to be fully formed or perfect. People could (and did) hack an existing process, create a piece of content, invent a new product or build basically anything they fancied.
There weren’t really rules. But we did want to give guidelines to make sure people got the best out of the day:
1) Teams must involve members from at least two different departments
2) They should probably not be more than 6 or so per team
How did it go?!
So well! For the first non-engineering hackday we were delighted by the quality of the ideas, participation from across the business and the mix of teams that formed:
Funnel Flip (winner) — prototype that helped people start their application with the invoice they want funded, not a form
Customer Seeker Bot— using various data sources we created a great list of potential customers we could help.
BottyMcBotFace (runner up) — two teams merged to create a) a sassy internal bot for our Slack network to give us real time business KPIs and b) a super smart customer facing bot to help customers with FAQs and details pertaining to their trade
MI Angel — a new product idea (landing page + product changes) helping Angel investors fund their companies’ invoices
Bring Back Auctions — Marketplace to connect sellers looking for a better rate and investors looking to maximise deployment of funds
How we ran it
Since this was quite a new concept for people outside of tech we had to do a little ‘internal selling’ in emails, reminders in team meetings and kicked off a Trello board to help people find and suggest ideas to work on.
Our wonderful office team also organised breakfast and lunch for the team as well as helping on some pretty pimp decorations.
The Friday before the Hackday we asked each person keen to do a project to standup at the Townhall to pitch their idea to get more team members.
Hackday: Monday 18th April
8.30 – 9am: Breakfast
9–9.30am: Intros and teams form
9.30 am — midday: HACK
1–5pm : HACK
5pm: Demo/present what teams have so far
Hackday demos: Friday 22nd April
So we could share what was created on hackday with the rest of the business but still provide enough time on Mondya to do the work we decided to have official presentations during our Friday townhall meeting.
Teams sent through demos/presentations beforehand and then explained the problem they worked to solve and how to solve it in c. 5 minutes.
Everyone got a prize for participating! But we also held a “People’s choice” vote on PollEverywhere.com
All in all a big success, definitely a good first attempt at getting more of the business in an innovative mindset. We’re looking forward to our next hackday, potentially with the theme of hacking our new office.