Hackathon, Team Work and Innovation

The AT&T Developer Program’s Hackathon events are very popular among the app developers. I was able to attend the one in Seattle on April 13th and 14th, and was struck by the teamwork at the event.

In the book “Managing for the Future”, Anoona et al presents a new organization model for better performance. The new model has the following characteristics;

  • Networked: Teamwork
  • Flat: Fewer layers, decentralized decision making
  • Flexible: Problem solving with fewer formal procedures
  • Diverse: Demographics, backgrounds, career paths
  • Incentive: Team based

At the Hackathon, each of these characteristics was on display. More than 130 developers joined for the event around 7pm. They networked and listened to a few short technical sessions on mobile app development. Around 9pm, they began recruiting teammates for the projects they had in mind. It was amazing to watch how quickly the teams were formed. Most people had their groups together by 10pm.

The teamwork started the next morning.  Interacting with a few of the teams, I was impressed by their ability to work together. I observed that when a team had a common goal with a reward incentive, there was a powerful display of team work. By Saturday night, 21 applications were entered into the contest by each of the teams.

Five teams used the AT&T Cloud Architect to host their applications. The RaaSIO team (Robotics as a Service I/O) won first prize in three categories: Cloud, Apigee UserfGrid and SergeSDK. They designed a prototype robotic device with an integrated model that leveraged multiple mobile SDKs to build front end services using Cloud Architect as a Cloud based services delivery platform.

The RaaSIO team with their innovation – a robotic device

The authors of Managing for the Future believed that “Flat is better than tall, flexible is better than predictable, diverse is better than homogeneous and global is better than domestic; regardless of the organization’s context”.

I see that this new organization model was demonstrated at this Hackathon. The outcome was extraordinary.

So, what are your thoughts.  What roles do you see for Networked, Flat, Flexible, Diverse and Incentives?  Please leave your comments on these below.
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