Teams conceptualise a problem or issue based on the data we present, develop a strategy, bounce ideas off each other, borrow other teams’ thoughts and methodologies, share information and skills and often end up at a solution far different from the one they envisaged at the start.
It’s an exciting way to work because it demands collaboration and encourages participants to inject innovations with the most crucial ingredient of all. Meaning.
Innovation has always been at the core of what we do but our innovations need to be meaningful if they are to change people’s lives. There is little point in developing products that may be clever but which aren’t meaningful.
The Hackathon crystallises that way of thinking. Despite its chaotically fast and short-lived nature – with many teams working through sleepless night(s) – it forces participants to focus on an issue and think about innovations with a diverse set of inputs. It also reinforces the idea of privacy and trust because, aside from encouraging creativity, we also drum into our participants how important it is to treat data with respect so that it doesn’t intrude upon people’s daily lives.
Bringing such external influences to our internal way of working – and to problems that we wrestle with constantly – inspires us to view things in a different way. Which is why we like to host and participate in these Hackathon events, where our staff are part of this unbridled enthusiasm.
There are so many fabulous ideas and astonishingly agile brains out there that it makes great business sense to collaborate with them, even for a short period. Sometimes they may be rewarded with a collaborative project with us or simply take pride from taking part. But at its heart, the event aims to provide avenues for solving an issue that is vital to our planet’s future.
As a company we’ve learnt how crucial it is to co-operate – with governments, partners, stakeholders, smaller more agile start-ups and demanding consumer groups.
The Hackathon presents a new way to collaborate and a great way to keep us all on our toes.