The portmanteau of “hackathon” simply breaks down into “hack” and “marathon.” Generally, it means an event involving computer programmers, software developments, interface designers, graphic designers, project managers or domain experts. The main aim is to create a usable functioning product for software or hardware solutions by the end of the event. A bunch of people comes together for this purpose for a period of one or more days. Hackathons mainly focus on an application, the programming language used, an API, or the operating system.
Exceptions to a Hackathon could also be the building of a platform or the same, around a specific language or may even be used as a means to solve business problems. Thus, in this article we are going to discuss how hackathons are not only for codes; it can be used alternatively too, or rather in your daily lives.
Hackathons can be broadly divided into two categories:
These types of hackathons are organized for employees working inside of the company or organization. Through cross-team collaboration, the employees learn to nurture problem-solving skills, are compelled to explore their creative boundaries and to foster motivation for higher production rates within a short span of time.
These are conducted by companies or agencies and it hosts a mass of participants from outside the company or agency. The benefits rank from getting technical updates to understanding new business models which in turn creates a strong brand and hires new talented freelancers.
What are the other functions of a hackathon?
After a worldwide survey to determine what the primary objectives of holding a hackathon, the most common answer that emerged to the top was branding. Branding has become one of the major uses over the past few years. Not only has it become popular in tech-circles but has also reached industries all over the world too.
Hackathons are not only limited to coding and programme-making, but it had also emerged as instruments for culture change and also supply chain management. In modern times, well-run hackathons have evidently lead to solid, innovative ideas and plans that improve customer experience and growth increase.
The most skilled innovators look for ways to materialize their ideas into large scale improvements that benefit the growth of the company. For example, restaurant owners have adopted the idea of using hackathons as a way of growing their business. They involved the processes of testing and feedback from the customers to improve their services and food quality. It then went on to get recorded into hackathon databases recorded by programmers and the outcome was materialized into a well-formed business.
Companies have begun to promote cultural advancements and the changes in the operating norms of society. The focus has shifted from coding to customer support, helped in the direct interaction with the customers. Luxury company executives have also adopted hackathons for better customer service that turned out to be more personal that improved company performance.
Hackathons fetch young talent from all across the globe to the companies who opt for this method of recruitment. Through the conduct of this event, companies clearly find out the capabilities of the participants, and it enables them to assign jobs to the aspirants in their respective fields directly.
Case Study to prove the success of Hackathon
A case study, rather an anecdote will help you understand the other uses of Hackathon. Mr. Gregory ran a popular fast food shop in his locality that flourished early well because of the availability of the food at all times, the quality and the uniqueness, as being a rare one in the entire vicinity. Recently, an idea struck him – he wanted to expand his menu and start off with selling thick shakes with ice cream and other candies. This, he thought would not only boost his business but also would create a new environment for both the young and the old. For this purpose, he needed to get answers to a variety of questions. Since it was an absolute new introduction to the area, he needed to know if it would be a success or all his efforts would go waste. He planned to conduct a survey by serving drinks and ice creams for three days. Each day, he recorded the amount of commodities that went into the making the shakes and ice creams, the amount of products that were sold, and the amount of flavors that were sold the most(they were considered popular) and the demand.
To acquire the answers to his questions, he conducted a hackathon on “Dare2Compete”. The data was recorded by programmers hired by Mr. Gregory. Thus, after the success of the survey, Mr. Gregory finally found a material database that lead to the launch of the extension of his fast food shop that further was solely made for thick shakes and ice creams.
Hackathons hold tremendous potential to identify leaders, create disruptive technologies and, attract skilled talent and. GroupMe and Twitter are such examples that were born in such hackathons. A creative and unique business that is based on future developments, might host hackathons internally to benefit from it. The number of inventions that originate from these respective events are clearly owned by the firm that settles in for the win.
In addition to hosting hackathons, a futuristic business takes a proactive approach and encourages its employees to take part in external hackathons.
Recently, Facebook hosted its 50th hackathon where ideas by employees about artificial intelligence were recorded over an intense 24-hour period.
At their best, hackathons help create a structural process around idea development. They also demonstrate to employees that innovation is not only welcomed but also expected. Henceforth, they cannot always be limited to be defined as coding and programming centered events, but it has evolved into a growing business in modern times.
Prabhash Bachhuwan is a content marketer who is an active contributor to Mettl‘s blog. A writer by day and a reader by night, the one who believes there is no sharper sword than the pen. Mettl is an HR company and leading talent measurement firm that enables businesses to make precise people decisions in talent recruitment, management and training across industry verticals.