How to arrange a successful Hackathon


In Zisson, we like to work as a team, and we celebrate innovation. We believe that we have an incredibly smart, and competent team with great ideas and that’s why we arrange Hackathons.

Firstly, what is a Hackathon? We define it as an event for creative problem-solving. We have created our own twist to the Hackathon, and in December, we gave our employees a whole Hackathon week. And we usually arrange one Hackathon every quarter. It works for us, and we have been so fortunate to enhance our product because of activities like this. We believe that if you give your employees the freedom to be creative, truly great things can happen!

This is our 6 key steps for a successful Hackathon

1. Planning is gold: Should there be a theme? What is the goal? Make some posters, maybe some t-shirts or cups, and boost interest in the event with information about the time and place.

2. Everyone must send in what they want to do in advance. This will set a clear goal for both the participants and the leaders of the event.

3. Make no rules, the only rule. Let the employees be creative and innovative without rules. If there are any limitations, let them be known before the event. Freedom should be given to explore any idea imaginable.

4. Food, drinks, and energy boosters. Spoil the attendees with delicious food and drinks to make this the event of the season.

5. Everyone must present what they did. Maybe this is the start of something, and perhaps someone actually made something awesome. Hackathons are judged by what is accomplished, so let everyone share their project.

6. Reward great ideas. If someone made something cool or did a great job, they should get a prize. Maybe some exciting beer, tickets to an event, or a new tech gadget.

We asked some of our colleagues what they think about Hackathon.

Arthi, QA

The good thing about having Hackathons is that People will start to think out of the box .

What did you work on in our last Hackathon? – I worked with automation testing using selenium WebDrive

Can you describe what you think a Hackathon should entail? – During the Hackathon, people should get the freedom to do other things than regular office work. While learning or trying something new, we need full concentration on what we do. We should also do or discover something as a team.

Hackathon helps us to think a bit out of the box to optimize day to day work.

Carrie, Senior Report Developer

Hackathon is an excellent opportunity to work on proof of concept to apply new technology that could have the possibility to contribute to business value innovatively. I was researching the architecture to have real-time analytic using streaming technology.

I think the Hackathon is a software project which does not only include developers but creates the possibility to work across departments in the organization.

It is fun to collaborate and brainstorm together with the product department, marketing, and designers.

Baard, Developer

Programming is innovational work that requires a deep understanding of complex machinery. Developers tend to be clever, creative, and curious people and often have ideas that deserve to be tried out. Some of these ideas may very well end up as profitable products. And, of course, it’s fun. And happy employees make a business more productive.

What did you work on in our last Hackathon? I made a demo/proof of concept of an IFTTT (If This Then That) – Zisson Call Center integration.

Can you describe what you think a Hackathon should entail? Easy. Freedom. Access to resources, maybe even money. And freedom from everything else. Everything.

How does Hackathon help you be innovative in your work? Just the opportunity to actually be innovative once in a while helps.

I believe that hackathons benefit any organization.