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Using a Hackathon to Spark Team Innovation and Deliver a Highly-Requested Confluence Suggestion

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".

Why Are 24-Hour-Innovation Events so Effective?

Foster innovation by getting playful

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 (wink)

Foster innovation by turning your pain points into solutions

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:

  • Hacketse IV—The design team was not amused about the makeshift situation in kitchen, so they decided to get rid of the packaging and invented the K15t muesli bar.
  • Hacketse VIII—Unicore: a retro-style HTML5-based game starring K15t's former Rocketcorn mascot.
  • Bobble Heads, a project from 2017, even won Shipit Live at Atlassian Summit!
  • Hacketse XVI—We developed an Atlassian Marketplace app based on a problem almost every Confluence user faces everyday.

How K15t solved the problem of Confluence not showing inline comments in the editor

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.

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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!

1 comment

Hackathons are one of my favourite sources of innovation and team spirit. Take Atlassian ShipIt. 24 hours of ... oh so much joy! 🚀Keep the creativity going!

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