A very interesting post by Joe Kraus over at JotSpot. JotSpot recently held their first Hackathon.
"What the heck is a hackathon?
It’s a day-long event where our engineers each crank on something:
* valuable to the company
* but not what they’re “supposed” to be working on and
* that can be taken from idea to working prototype in one day"
After coding from 9 AM to 8 PM, the group gathered for pizza and each hacker presented what they had created.
The results are pretty inspirational. But why limit a hackathon to engineers? Can you apply a hackathon to your company?
P.S. The reason that a hackathon works is twofold. First, the requirement to produce a working prototype in a day naturally forces people to work in a lean, iterative fashion. Second, working by yourself maximizes individual creativity and responsibility--for all the props brainstorming gets, studies have shown that people working individually generate more ideas per capita. Also, since you alone are responsible for your output, and you're going to show it to everyone, you are truly invested in your work.