Companies amass specialized knowledge with time and can address significant challenges by themselves within clearly defined contexts. Innovation, on the other hand, is a challenge because companies are unaware where these pockets of knowledge exist. Managers do not know, what skill-sets they might have within their reach, how to evaluate solutions, how to integrate these solutions into their workflows and much more.
With a platform to conduct hackathons, companies can potentially work at scale, bringing together diverse individuals to focus on a given problem. Companies need to understand that the crowd is nothing but an on-demand resource community with the requisite skills and knowledge, which attracts only deeply interested, skilled, and motivated individuals. It is a challenge of problem-solving combined with the appeal of enhanced reputation in the community which drives such people.
What is a hackathon?
A hackathon, also known as a codefest, is a social coding event that brings computer programmers and other interested people together to improve upon or build a new software program.
Hackathons provide a venue for self-expression and creativity through technology. People with technical backgrounds come together, form teams around a problem or idea, and collaboratively code a unique solution from scratch.
Innovation management software/hackathon software helps you
- Innovate by providing a platform to ideate and collaborate on interesting products, solutions, and processes.
- Crowdsource solutions from internal and external audiences, which minimizes the time, effort, and capital spent on driving innovation
In a turbulent and rapidly changing economy, organizations must prepare themselves to innovate on a continuous basis or else their survival is seriously threatened. One of the ways in which this can be done is by conducting hackathons.
Using hackathon software helps you to scale the innovation activities. In fact, for large companies, it is a must-have. Let’s see why.
Broadly, the benefits of conducting a hackathon on a platform include the following:
1. Scale and consistency
Hackathons can be conducted using basic collaboration tools like Dropbox, Asana, or Trello. But when you want to use a hackathon as a tool for sustained innovation where you conduct frequent hackathons on a regular basis and scale it across offices in different cities in different parts of the world, it is essential to have a semi-automated if not completely automated process. Hackathons help you to take the vision, generate ideas, evaluate and shortlist ideas and get proof of concepts or prototypes built.
2. Enable cross-functional collaboration
Innovation and collaboration aren’t separate. Collaboration drives innovation and value creation, thereby helping businesses create wealth.
What is cross-functional collaboration?
People from different teams work collaboratively to input their ideas in order to lower costs and create new opportunities. It aids in identifying new ideas implementing them and integrating them into everyday operations by building trust with all the stakeholders. It aids in identifying new ideas, implementing them, and integrating them into everyday operations by building trust with all stakeholders.
In collaboration, most often value is shared by combining specializations to achieve great results.
Innovation management software that supports cross-functional features for diverse teams to work collaboratively by easily sharing feedback and picking the best and most feasible ideas, gives everyone the power to share their ideas and ensures that their voice is heard. It allows everyone within an organization to submit ideas on a variety of topics, like products they work on, company processes and overall goals, regardless of their physical location. This helps companies execute new ideas at a phenomenal pace, helping them stay ahead of the competition through constant innovation.
4. Data security
We are all aware of the term intellectual property(IP), here, it refers to the creation of the ideas, inventions, prototypes, designs, symbols, names, and images which may have been created as a part of a Hackathon.
IP is protected by law by; for example, patents, copyright, and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the public interest, the IP aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.
Even today, the biggest challenge associated with crowdsourcing for most organizations is the protection of Intellectual Property (IP).
How is the handling of intellectual property different in public and private scenario?
In an in-house/private scenario, companies generally retain the IP of the product because the problem is solved/attempted to solve using the company's resources.
However, in a public model, IP is far more complex. Here it completely depends on understanding the final solution and how it integrates into the company's roadmap. Companies can solicit answers from the problem solvers and work with organizers to chart out appropriate terms and conditions to dictate information-sharing during the campaign. Companies can then clearly identify how they can channel the IP into their regular workflows. Companies should maintain a clear distinction between their proprietary creations and the ones obtained via the community.
4. Ease of use
- Easy-to-use platform with self-serve and managed options
- Easy criteria selection and judging capability
- Prototypes created in a compressed time frame
- Easy to plan, customize, promote and execute
- Enable private as well as public voting to select the best ideas.
- Location agnostic - allow employees across geographical regions to collaborate
If hackathon is your preferred tool for sustained and continuous innovation, then hackathon management software will definitely help you to scale the efforts, streamline the process while maintaining the consistency and makes your task 100 folds easier.