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As a company starts to grow and develop from a small tinker garage into a real business, there are changes like set working hours, meetings, and paperwork. This typically means less time for innovation.
So the question arises: how can a company maintain their creativity as it expands?
There are several ways to keep creativity alive and thriving. Atlassian, for example, maintains the balance with its famous ShipIt Days. At K15t, we also hold company-wide 24-hour hackathons known as the "Hacketse".
Remember how badly you wanted to win hide and seek as a kid? Adults tend to have the same level of ambition with the right incentives.
A little competition among friends can unleash unimagined powers. What's more, team members feel especially empowered because they get to vote on the winner. With only 24 hours, and just 3 minutes of presentation time to convince their colleagues to vote for them, teammates don't lose themselves in discussion or meetings about small stuff. They have just enough time to develop a minimum viable product and prepare a short pitch.
Along with shirts, stickers, and a big trophy, Hacketse winners get to decide where we'll go on the next company outing. We've already visited a trampoline park, played laser tag, and enjoyed a boat tour. Oh, and let's not forget the neverending glory a Hacketse winner receives
It's amazing to see what people do when they have 24 hours to work on whatever they want. Often, teammates focus on a problem they encounter every day.
Many real-life products and improvements have arisen from Hacketses. Examples include:
During our last Hacketse, the winning team polled the company to ask what business issues their team face. It was clear that inline comments in the Confluence editor were not only a desired improvement from the K15t team, but also in the Confluence community. To address this problem, a Hacketse team developed an app in just 24 hours. The app has a simple yet significant use case: inline comments display while you edit in Confluence where you can quickly resolve them. After a few days of preparation, it was: ready - set - go! Now, K15t has a new app on the Atlassian Marketplace.
As you can see, it's possible for any company to stay innovative without losing their fun.
What's your feedback on this issue? Tell us in the comment section!