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Hacking The Future of Internal Comms… The Story Behind a Successful Hackathon

Eoin CotterEoin Cotter·
internal comms

Predicting the future can be fun (just ask Nostradamus). What’s more fun is predicting the future and then making it a reality.

The future of IC was very much to the forefront when we recently decided to run our very first Poppulo company-wide Hackathon. For those of you who haven’t heard of the concept before, a Hackathon is essentially an innovation day, a chance for employees to work on ideas outside of their` day-to-day responsibilities. The ideas can be big or small, complex or straightforward, achievable or aspirational.

Taking the collective resources of any company for a day naturally has consequences, so why bother?

  1. Firstly, it’s a fantastic way to for people to work with colleagues that they wouldn’t normally
  2. Secondly, it gives innovation and creativity the chance to bubble to the surface
  3. It’s fun!

The ideas
Everything starts with an idea. And we had lots of them. Starting 4 weeks out from the big day, we asked people to think about any ideas that might have hiding away at the back of their minds. We work for and with internal communicators on a daily basis, giving a lot of the Poppulo team a unique perspective on the challenges facing IC and how we might be able to help tackle those challenges. Ideas were submitted to a communal portal and people then had the chance to review the submissions and join a team/ idea that they liked.

A day out of the ordinary
While we hosted the day in our office, it felt anything but normal. Helium filled balloons, dancing, voting, matching t-shirts, eating, pitching and eating some more contributed to an energy-filled atmosphere around the office

Collaboration
Poppulo’s recent growth has seen the team stretch to over 140 people between our Cork and Boston offices. Every idea/ team on both sides of the Atlantic had representation from across the company: engineering, sales, customer success & support, marketing, design, etc… This afforded us the opportunity to work with and get to know colleagues from across the business.

And the Oscar goes to…
With Oscar season upon us, we had a few aspiring directors in our midst on the day. Using the SeenIt app, everyone in the company was encouraged to capture user-generated video and upload it to the SeenIt event portal. The end result? Over 300 candid clips that ensure that we have a memorable record of our very first Hackathon.

Innovating and “hacking”
I don’t want to spoil some of the exciting things that are brewing here at Poppulo HQ, but the day proved that our team is Talented with a capital T. Not only did we see some terrific ideas submitted but we saw some incredible progress made over the course of a single working day. In just a few short hours the team had developed code, wireframes, videos, business cases, screen designs, prototypes.

Investing
Our ideas ranged from exciting new IC product ideas and concepts to customer experience enhancements to internal process improvements. Each team then had the opportunity to pitch for votes and everyone had a number of tokens to ‘invest’ in their favorite idea. This saw the crowning of the prestigious People’s Champion Award.

What now?
Our first Hackathon was a fantastic success and our thoughts have now turned into making these ideas a reality.
If the outputs from the day are anything to go by then the future of IC is in good hands. Watch this space…


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