Innovation seekers, hackathons are your answer


Jul 19, 2018

working on inovative ideas

Sourcing innovation for your company to grow is a crucial process. It’s irrelevant whether your business is dealing with consulting, banking, or computer hardware, there is always room for improvement, and new areas to explore. Having an R&D or innovation department might not be a viable solution for every company, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way for those to bring new ideas to the table. Innovation challenge is the answer.

What are hackathons and challenges?

Hackathons and idea challenges are competitions for creative, hard-working individuals and teams to test their skills in a unique environment designated to be the homes of innovative ideas to be born. The events can be held both online, and last for days to even months, and on-site, and last for a few hours to 3 days. The organizers decide on a task, a problem to solve, and participants work towards creating a solution in a given timeframe.

How are hackathons an alternative to R&D and innovation departments?

Hackathons can be organized with various themes and topics in mind, and with different goals to be achieved. Some are meant to increase the brand awareness, some resemble charity events, and others are held to source innovation. Hackathons and idea challenges always have the element of promoting a brand in them, no matter the goal, because when promoting the event itself you’re making your voice be heard, as there’s always some company behind one of those contest. If a business is about to expand their operations, organizing an innovation challenge might be a good idea to take a step in that direction. Engaging the passionate individuals in your community through one such event allows for discovering hidden talents and gaining access to new ideas and solutions that your company needs. Nothing ever comes for free, obviously, and contestants will expect a prize for their hard work. This aspect can be diversified in a lot of ways as well. Monetary prize is the most obvious way of rewarding the winners of a contest, but a more practical approach in case of an innovation challenge is offering a position in your company to the winning team or individuals. Suggesting a close cooperation to develop the solution further is also a viable option in many cases.

Sourcing innovation through challenges takes away the need of maintaining an R&D or innovation department at all times and allows to channel the resources elsewhere until the need for more outside help arises. All of that is besides the fact that smaller companies might not even require having a constantly working department like that, thus occasional idea challenges prove a more suitable solution.

When innovation challenges proved successful

#SustainHack was an idea challenge organized by Kompania Piwowarska and BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank on ChallengeRocket platform. The goal of this competition was for both companies to source innovative solutions relevant to social problems in Poland. BGŻ BNP Paribas Bank’s challenge was focused on new ideas for ways of engaging previously abandoned demographics. Expanding bank’s services to be accessible to elderly people required fresh minds to approach the task, and the idea challenge proved extremely successful in sourcing innovation in that area.

Even Companies like Facebook utilize hackathons to source new ideas. Their employees gather every six weeks or so to work on projects they are passionate about, with the only rule being that their creations must not be connected to their daily jobs. One of the most legendary inventions during one such hackathon was the introduction of the “Like” button that changed the way we interact with content online forever.

Organized by Santander Bank, BankITup was a hackathon focused on data analysis. The task consisted of building tools, algorithms, or applications that gather publicly available data to identify companies with the best investment and development potential. The projects submitted to the hackathon were nothing short of impressive and the bank successfully sourced the solutions needed.

If your company is one among those needing new solutions, an innovation challenge is the answer for you. ChallengeRocket is a platform open for companies to aid in hiring processes through hackathon recruitment, and organize competitions like innovation challenges and more. Visit our page for companies for more information, get in touch with us, and start building the future of your company today.