August 07, 2017
When the dust settles, how do we determine the true business value of a Hackathon?
By: Dan Harris

Back in March I had the pleasure of joining a judging panel that included Julie Spillane, director at The Dock, Enrico Gentili, Liquid Studio lead at The Dock, and Lorna Ross, Fjord Group director, to assess the finalists from their first hackathon event.

After analysing each of the projects and deciding which teams should progress, the conversation turned, as it often does, to where the business value lies in an event like this.

Are Hackathons just a fad? Or can we determine their true business value after the dust settles?


The seismic shift in supply versus demand

The business to consumer ecosystem across many industries has dramatically changed over the past decade.

We’re no longer in a place where there’s reams and reams of supply; we’re living in a world where demand is through the roof, and what I mean by demand is that customers’ expectations of what they want out of brands is ever-growing.

Whether it be how they consume their favorite TV show, or how they manage their finances, expectations and desires are forever shifting and evolving.

How can a business attempt to effectively quench this thirst?

Enter the Hackathon

This type of event helps us discover how we can become a company that meets employee expectations, and a company that thinks about how to address those expectations in the market, for both clients and customers.

Our businesses are packed with people who are having seamless and memorable digital experiences on a daily basis.

Naturally, they then come to work and wonder why they can’t have those kind of experiences during their 9-to-5.

Enter the Hackathon

Hackathons are a dynamic way of capturing that energy and giving it momentum.

True business value

What it does for our people

Unsurprisingly, these events have a remarkable effect on culture; a Hackathon has the ability to ignite and forge healthy working relationships that may have never existed previously.

Ultimately, these types of events bring people together, which builds a sense of community and promotes internal collaboration that may have never previously existed.

True business value

Hackathons allow people to dream and create—they empower.

They give employees the time, space and support to hack, and this can prove to be a powerful force long after the event ends.

What it does for our business

A Hackathon represents the kind of creativity that is critical to today’s organisations.

The creative brilliance that’s inspired by a Hackathon can often lead to an idea that has the potential to cut right through a market or industry.

It creates the right environment for the development of concepts that wouldn’t have normally have been put together. Those golden nugget ideas that can really disrupt an industry.

By encouraging employees to focus on the blurry edges of a problem, we uncover opportunities and solutions that would have never previously existed.

Want to learn more about how we innovate at The Dock? Discover more here!

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