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Activating a culture of innovation

Activating a culture of innovation

Five ways that hackathons can help unlock the creative potential of your organisation.

James Mabbott

Partner in Charge, KPMG Futures

KPMG Australia


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Colleagues using post-it notes during a brainstorming meeting

At KPMG, we have experimented with a number of different innovation programs over recent years. We’ve found Hackathons to be the right fit to enable a culture of innovation because they provide:

  1. Dedicated time – As busy professionals can attest, coming up with new ideas, let alone finding the bandwidth to work on them, is hard. Hackathons provide crucial time away from day jobs to think, dream, and reconnect with creativity.
  2. Permission – Leadership endorsement is another critical factor in people being motivated and willing to generate and share new ideas, especially those that are bold. Hackathons provide the right environment to explore, experiment and develop with leadership support.
  3. Collaboration and diversity – Bringing a diverse set of people together to solve a problem is where the magic happens. It’s an opportunity to collaborate with talented people in a creative environment and be mentored by innovation experts. 
  4. Accelerated outcomes – The days of coming up with new ideas and taking 6 months to write a business case are, or should be, over. Hackathons generate basic but functioning prototypes to showcase a new idea in as little as 36 hours. 
  5. Learning – In building a culture of innovation, developing new skills around ideation, prototyping and pitching are core to enabling people to innovate. In addition to building individual skills, hackathons provide the opportunity to learn about emerging technology and its potential for your organisation.

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