Hackathon Decoded

Blog June 17, 2019

Posted by Eryca

Hackathon Decoded Featured Image

It’s no secret that the Future of Work has arrived and for companies to thrive in our exponentially changing world, they must be willing and able to evolve. NoW of Work Inc is committed to helping companies of all sizes access inspiration and best-practices designed to future-proof any business.

Anchored in collaboration, sharing, and equal access to best practices, NoW of Work Inc and their global network of diverse leaders are passionate about empowering a culture of innovation and agility.

In May, Accelerate Okanagan hosted NoW of Work Inc Cofounder, Rocky Ozaki who led a Design Thinking Hackathon for a small group of OKGNtech entrepreneurs. Rocky has coached, trained, and developed leaders across the country with strategies and tactics designed to elevate organizational capabilities, team member engagement, and overall happiness in the workplace.

Here’s an inside look at what we learned about innovation and why we can’t wait to do it all again.

Hackathons Explained

A Hackathon is not about coding and you do not need to understand Java or have a degree in computer science to get in on the action. A hackathon is a group of people getting together and tackling a problem in a restricted amount of time using creative problem-solving. There are a lot of different ways to put on a hackathon; the amount of time you decide to take can vary, the number of participants can vary, and the types of participants can vary. But what remains the same is the goal, which is to tackle big problems and find innovative solutions.

Locating Yourself

Our hackathon with Rocky was an 8 hour day. We kicked things off by learning a little more about our own strengths and blockers and what it takes to be a strong member of the team. Locating Yourself, a video produced by the Conscious Leadership Group guided us through the process of assessing our own perspective.

In order to effectively tackle a Hackathon, you must be above the line, as it requires you to be open to connection and able to think outside of the box. What does it mean to be above the line? When you are above the line, you are open, curious and committed to learning. When you are below the line,  you’re defensive, closed, and committed to being right.

Design Thinking Defined

A Hackathon is rooted in the concept of Design Thinking, a humancentered approach to problem-solving. When you tackle a problem from a design thinking perspective you’re constantly working on developing an understanding of the user you’re designing for.

The 5 steps of design thinking are:

  1. Empathizing with your user

  2. Defining their needs

  3. Ideating solutions

  4. Prototyping solutions

  5. Testing your solutions.

Pro tip! These steps don’t always appear consecutively and can repeat as you iterate your way to a solution.Design-thinking.png

Innovation Horizons

Fact: If you are not innovating your business you can expect to say goodbye to it (we’re looking at you Blockbuster).The Innovation Horizon is a framework designed to ensure your business doesn’t go from scaleup to fail up by spreading the focus between current products and or services, emerging tech, and bold new ideas.

The Innovation Horizon Model suggests that you should be focusing on your current products and services 70% of the time, Emerging Technology 20% of the time, and Moonshots 10% of the time.Innovation-Horizon.png

Some examples of applying emerging technology to your business would be adding spatial, artificial intelligence, robotic or augmented reality components to your current business model. A moonshot on the other hand, would be something much more audacious, imaginative or even absolutely terrifying.

Not all moonshots are successful, so it is important to be open to failure in this process and to remember that the most important component of moonshots is that you’re getting comfortable thinking outside the box.

The Innovative Shift

Innovation is typically inspired by seemly complex problems and the demand for simple solutions. 

“Imagination is the ability to envision things that don’t exist. Creativity is using imagination to address a challenge. Innovation is applying that combination of imagination and creativity to generate unique solutions.” – Tina Seelig, Stanford University

To change our mindset effectively, a shift in perspective is required. That shift is usually from large, abstract, and far to small concrete and near. What is it actually that you’re trying to achieve? Maybe it’s time to step away from the big picture and dive into the details?Innovation-Shift.png


Want to learn more? Connect with Rocky Ozaki and the NoW team.

Want to participate in a hackathon? Hacking Health | Explained 

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