Hackathons aren’t just for Tech Companies!

In 2016 I ran two Hackathons. One for a local Learning and Development group, Association for Talent Development (ATDps) and one for a Non-Profit Organization, LINGOS. In the first one, we wanted to tackle the biggest pain points and innovate solutions for how to successfully onboard new hires in organizations. In the second one, we capped off a two-day conference where participants in the workshop had a chance to collaborate with local workplace learning thought ­leaders on ways to put the best ideas from the conference into practice.In both sessions, we came up with some solid approaches to solving problems. Treating hackathons like an ideation session with creative tools to create actionable plans yielded practical solutions with future implementations possible. In both instances, we heard some amazing results around how we could solve problems in organizations, but not only that – we heard solid plans on how organizations could implement those ideas in a low-cost, scrappy, and broad ways. At the end of the day, we brought several dozen people together for some serious fun and came away with some tangible solutions.

Get the most of out of HackathonsHackathons can be amazing opportunities for networking, collaboration, and innovation, but they can also be overwhelming and stressful. Remember if you are leading a hackathon to be prepared to help your audience share their interests, skills, and goals with peers. Above all, have fun and throw out ideas! 

If you are a participant don’t be intimidated or worry that you’re crashing a party or club. Collaboration is the core of the hackathon, and people want to hear your ideas. You are on an even playing field, even if you’re teaming with veterans because everyone attends a hackathon to work together on creative and innovative ideas. Everyone wants to be a part of something cool and clever—that too, is at the heart of the hackathon.