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October 15, 2023

Top 8 reasons to host an internal hackathon

Kevin Peters

Founder of hackathon.camp

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7 minutes read


Imagine your team, languishing in routine, bogged down with unmoving projects and fading morale. Sounds familiar? Fret not, as we have the perfect solution to reinvigorate your workplace - hosting an Internal Hackathon. In this informative piece, we will present to you the top 8 reasons why you should definitely consider this ingenious approach. A hackathon is not just a trendy buzzword, but a proven method to supercharge creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving in your workplace. But how exactly does an internal hackathon bring these incredible benefits? What can you, as an organization, stand to gain from it? Albert Einstein once said, "You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it." So, are you ready to break free from the monotony and spark a wave of innovation? Let us dive into this exciting chapter of corporate evolution and grasp the 'hackathon' edge today!

Exploring the Concept of an Internal Hackathon

If you are looking for ways to instigate spirit of innovation and collaboration within your organization, hosting an internal hackathon might be just what you need. The concept of a hackathon, a word originated from “hack” and “marathon”, basically involves a sprint-like event where individuals collaborate intensively on software projects. In an internal hackathon, the collaborative spirit is taken a notch higher, focusing on topics that directly relate to the business.

The timing can range from a few hours to a couple of days, but the objective remains the same - to create functioning software or a robust solution to a proposed challenge. Internal hackathons are the new kids on the corporate block, driving home the point that fostering a culture of innovation is not a superficial act, but a deliberate, strategic decision. Hosting an internal hackathon is not just a trendy HR initiative, it is an engaging exercise that breathes life into an otherwise mundane routine.

Boosting Team Building and Collaboration

Possibly one of the most significant provide by internal hackathons is the creation of bonding opportunities. As humans, we thrive on collaboration and teamwork - it is what sets us apart. In an internal hackathon setting, employees step out of their professional boundaries and engage with colleagues from different departments on a more personal level. Solving a challenge in a limited time frame requires immense teamwork, bringing teams together in a unique, dynamic way that regular office setups rarely do.

In addition to building stronger internal relationships, hackathons can also boost collaboration between different departments or offices. It offers great platform for units that usually would not work together, to unite and pool in their diverse skills in solving complex business challenges. This setting not only challenges perspectives but also facilitates better understanding of colleagues' roles, cultivating a more cooperative work culture.

Unleashing the Creative Power Within Your Organization

Organizational creativity isn’t limited to the marketing department or the graphic designers. With internal hackathons, organizations can tap into the imagination and the creative potential that lies within each member of their team. Remember that brilliant idea you had during a lunch break but never had the outlet to voice it? Internal hackathons provide that platform! It is during these events that individuals get the opportunity to brainstorm, explore and implement their ideas - stepping beyond their work confines.

Moreover, with leadership endorsing and encouraging these activities, employees feel more valued and motivated to go that extra mile. Such creative liberty can dramatically enhance job satisfaction levels and lead to more substantial engagement of employees with their jobs and the organization. After all, hacking isn’t just about codes and software - it’s about hacking traditional thoughts and processes too!

Streamlining Projects with Efficient Solutions

Gone are the days of long timelines for project development. The swift and collaborative nature of hackathons results in incredible efficiencies. Participants are continuously working, testing and iterating - leaving no time for slack. This urgency, clubbed with the competitive spirit, drives the timely delivery of ambitious solutions. What would have taken weeks in the traditional route, internal hackathons achieve in just days, if not hours!

Besides, these are not just stopgap measures. The solutions that emerge from hackathons often have good transferability quotient. With minor calibrations, these ideas can be incorporated into the regular work pipelines, radically improving existing processes or even becoming the next big business differentiator.

Discovering Talent

Hosting an internal hackathon allows you to uncover the hidden below-the-surface talents your employees possess. Someone from your finance department might have an unexpected knack for coding, or a member of your HR team might prove an adept problem-solver. Essentially, it is a treasure hunt that involves unearthing valuable intellectual capital that might otherwise lie dormant in a traditional workspace.

Moreover, developers and tech enthusiasts are often keen on showing off their skills and finding opportunities to learn and grow. By providing them a platform to showcase their potential, you are not only improving employee satisfaction levels but also setting the stage for continued learning and development within your organization.

Pushing Innovation Boundaries

The hackathon concept is, by its very nature, a champion of innovation. Comprising multidisciplinary teams that brainstorm and hack for a good portion of a day is a sure path to inventive ideas. It encourages participants to push beyond their limits, face challenges head-on and funnel their creativity to devise ground-breaking solutions.

Where verbal brainstorming can sometimes be inhibiting, the hands-on hacking approach encourages participants to build,iterate and improvise. With such active engagement, new perspectives are born, and innovative solutions are given the room they often need to come to light.

Develop a Deeper Understanding of Your Business Challenges

Each business has its unique set of challenges. An internal hackathon, focused on such issues, allows everyone in the organization to understand these problems better. With this, employees are not just problem-solvers but problem-definers too, taking a step further in aligning with the organization's vision.

Working in cross-functional teams during the hackathon, employees can leverage this opportunity to gain holistic insights into the organization's workflow and challenges. By having a deeper understanding of these obstacles, they can empathize better and therefore be more driven to provide effective solutions.

A Catalyst for Culture Change in the Workplace

A significant by-product of internal hackathons is the impact they have on the work culture. An environment that supports hackathons indirectly fosters a culture of mutual respect, collaboration, continuous learning and innovation. Encouraging such events communicates to your employees that their ideas, knowledge, and skills are acknowledged and valued.

Moreover, these can help level the playing field, allowing everyone, irrespective of their job title, to contribute meaningfully to the organization's success. Not to mention, with diversity of thoughts coming from a diverse set of participants, the organization is better prepared for future challenges.

Cost-Efficiency and Real-Time Product Testing Opportunities

Hackathons have a dual reward. On one hand, they foster innovation and creative thinking; and on the other, they offer a cost-effective way to solve business problems. Often, solutions realized during a hackathon can be adapted and scaled to address real-world business challenges. A prototype developed over a few days at virtually no cost can end up saving the company significant expenditure down the line.

Furthermore, with the condensed timeframe of a hackathon, you can expedite the ideation to product development phase. The real-time feedback and constant refining offer a unique product-testing opportunity, ensuring faster time to market for ideas conceived.


From fostering an innovative culture and enhancing cross-departmental collaboration, to identifying new talents and developing cost-effective solutions, internal hackathons certainly offer more advantages than meet the eye. It’s a compelling way to blend work, learning, collaboration, creativity and fun.

As organizations continually strive to stay ahead in a highly competitive environment, keeping the innovation wheel spinning is critical. And as we have discussed, internal hackathons can serve as the perfect catalyst to that end. With such manifold benefits, it is no wonder that more and more organizations are warming up to the idea of hosting internal hackathons.


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