Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Companies use internal hackathons to foster innovation and collaboration among employees.

: Companies are increasingly running internal hackathons to stimulate employee innovation and problem-solving, often focusing on AI and new technologies. These events encourage cross-discipline collaboration and foster a culture of innovation. Participants include a mix of technical and non-technical staff, enhancing diversity in problem-solving approaches.

Many companies are turning to internal hackathons as a strategic tool to promote innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving among their employees. Brandon Kessler, CEO of DevPost, notes that the primary goal of these hackathons is to generate new ideas, with a significant focus on AI, as almost all their recent hackathons involve this technology. These events bring together employees from various disciplines to tackle specific challenges, leading to fresh solutions and increased efficiency across the company.

Netta Retter, from Okta, highlights that internal hackathons were key in fostering a broad culture of innovation, first seen at Facebook and now integral at Okta. Retter emphasizes that these hackathons are not just about technological advances but also about building community and collaboration, especially in a remote-first environment. The use of generative AI in these events has shown potent results in how products and services are developed and improved.

Chris Aidan of Estée Lauder points out that their hackathons address both business-specific and human-interest issues, like improving breast cancer detection or assisting visually impaired individuals. The diversity of participants, including both technical and non-technical staff, leads to more effective and innovative outcomes. Aidan's approach to alternative brainstorming sessions, or 'idea-a-thons', involves simpler, possibly low-code methods to encourage widespread employee participation and ideation.