While there are several reasons why a hackathon is a must for startups and businesses in the tech industry, a large part of the reason is that they provide a platform to show off your capabilities to a large number of people in a short amount of time.
If you think about it, a startup has to essentially prove itself to potential investors and customers, across multiple fronts. With that in mind, a hackathon is a focused development effort where developers, designers and other participants collaborate intensively on software projects.
The philosophy is that by giving a group of passionate and talented people an interesting problem to solve over a short period of time, they can push for innovation and form new, exciting relationships with like-minded professionals.
A hackathon doesn't have to be an industry-wide event though, so your business can set up an internal hackathon as a way to establish your culture, engage employees, and re-fuel their motivation.
External vs Internal Hackathon: What are the Same Qualities You Need to Throw a Successful Hackathon for Your Employees?
A hackathon can help with the internal hiring of new employees. They are a great way to not just test developer skills, but rather evaluate a candidate's problem-solving skills, general aptitude and personality.
To make sure that you have a successful hackathon as an organization, you will want to ensure that the following things are in place:
1. The Problem Should be Clearly-Defined and Reasonably Challenging
The challenge you set in front of your employees should be clear. Hackathons are about innovation, so the problem that you provide to your people should be a little open-ended. This will allow your employees to think creatively and work towards a solution instead of figuring it out.
Make sure that it's not so challenging that it's impossible to find solutions, but at the same time, it should be one that will require a good amount of brainpower and collective intelligence to figure out.
2. The Problem Should Be Doable in a Reasonably Limited Timefram
A hackathon should be focused and limited in scope. The reason is that hackathons are all about problem-solving and ideation, and you don't want your team to spend extra time coming up with solutions.
Keep in mind that the time frame you set should also be reasonable. While having a tight deadline can impart a sense of urgency, you don't want to set unrealistic goals, as this could go into your employees' heads and cause disappointment.
3. The Problem Should be Solvable Using Any Skill Type and Level
While your employees may be working in teams, it's still important that your challenge is one that can be tackled by various skills. Having different skill sets involved will not only create a more balanced team, but it will also allow you to test how people work together, as well as how effective they are in finding common ground.
On the other hand, you want to make sure that the challenge you set is something that can be solved by even the most junior employee. Someone you've never worked with before will likely have a very different perspective on things, so you need to establish whether that person can be thrown into the mix and come up with something amazing.
4. The Problem Should be Guided by an Expert to Assure Real-World Relevance
A hackathon is meant to be a way of testing ideas, but you want to make sure that your employees are thinking towards a real solution. To do this, a knowledgeable facilitator can walk through the process, identify real-world problems, and steer the participants in a way that leaves them not just with a prototype, but a valuable solution as well.
The Bottom Line: Hosting Internal Hackathons to Boost Employee Morale and Motivation
Hackathons can be a great way to test potential new hires and to engage your employees. By coming up with a problem that your employees can work on together, you can keep everyone's motivation high while giving them a chance to feel like they are a part of a larger team culture.
Hosting an internal hackathon that is open to your employees can also build a sense of teamwork and cohesiveness within your company and help to establish a culture of innovation.
How Can We Help You?
Dipping your toes in the tech industry is a great way to boost your education and build the career that you want. Fortunately, worldwide hackathon opportunities are available within your reach, thanks to Hackathon.com.
Hackathon.com is the largest online hackathon community worldwide. We connect over 2000 hackathon organizers with over 10 million member innovators globally. Find a hackathon that will help boost your team's engagement and collaboration today!