Discover Beeshake's tips for defining the stages of a corporate hackathon. A hackathon is an opportunity to boostparticipative innovation in your organization. It's a good way to engage in provoked participative innovation, i.e. to directly solicit your employees on certain subjects, rather than waiting for them to spontaneously come up with ideas for innovation projects. In short, a run a hackathon maximizes employee involvement and the effectiveness of the innovation process. Provided certain steps are taken...

Organising a hackathon on Beeshake - Steps to a successful hackathon

The first steps of a hackathon: a solid framework

The first stage of a hackathon: the launch phase

The launch stage is one of the most important stages of a hackathon. It will allow us to meet 2 objectives:

  1. Align the stakeholders on the course of the hackathon and the role of each. This is an opportunity to validate a timetable, to allocate roles, or to collectively define the role of the ambassadors.
  2. Define precisely the scope of the subject. What is the problem you are trying to answer with this hackathon? Why do you want to do this? What exactly do you expect from your collaborators and from this hackathon?

To succeed in this first stage of your hackathon, you can set up 2 types of instances:

  1. A decision-making body whose mission will be to guarantee the coherence of the hackathon, and to transform this event into a strategic project with a shared vision.
  2. An operational working group whose mission will be to ensure the smooth running of the process at the operational level.

READ ALSO: Organising a hackathon in your company: The Guide


Among the stages of a corporate hackathon, do not forget communication! It can be very useful to work on the visual identity of your event, so as to make it identifiable and attractive. It is also an opportunity to define internal and external communication channels, to promote your approach to everyone. Internally, it will be a great way to boost commitment. Externally, the hackathon is an opportunity to communicate on corporate or employer brand issues.

How can you organise your communication? You can for example :

  • Start by defining the strategic aspects: who is your communication aimed at? What is the key message? What are your language elements?
  • Creating a logo and a specificvisual identity can be interesting
  • Define a facilitation charter: at what pace do you want to run your hackathon? With what tone? What language should be used? On which internal and external channels?
  • Create a communication kit for your relays. These may be managers, ambassadors or other relay points. The aim is to give them the keys to communicate themselves to their internal or external environment.
  • Plan a communication and animation schedule. Don't leave the planning to chance. Decide exactly when you want to distill your messages, and why.

Definition and coaching of ambassadors

You may have identified people in your company whose involvement in innovation issues has been noticed! Now is the time to put them forward. Indeed, to organise your hackathon, you will needambassadors.

These will help you to mobilise as many participants as possible to make your hackathon a success.

First, it is essential to define the role of ambassadors precisely:

  • Who are they?
  • How to recruit them?
  • What do you expect from them?
  • What can you provide them to fulfil their role? Tools? Coaching? Training or workshops?

In short, it is essential that your ambassadors feel comfortable with the tools and steps of a hackathon so that they can be the best possible relay actors.

Download the presentation: "How to organise a call for ideas that brings people together".

The collection of ideas

Once the scoping phase is over, it's time for the next steps in a hackathon! You have identified your relay points, you have defined a communication strategy to get your employees involved. Now it's time to collect their ideas!

Moreover, it may be appropriate to punctuate this phase with animations that boost commitment, or workshops that help employees to bring out ideas. This is how you will get as many ideas as possible to emerge. Your ambassadors can also play a role here by participating or leading workshops.

Good to know: be aware that most ideas often emerge in the first few days of the sourcing phase. So make sure you take care of these first few days in terms of animation, but also that you pace yourself during the following days so that your approach does not lose its momentum.

The voting and selection phase

On acollaborative innovation and collective intelligence platform like Beeshake, the projects submitted by participants can be moderated or not, and are then visible to all. The objective is for all employees to be able to consult all the proposed projects.

They can then :

  • Enrich these projects by commenting on them
  • Participate by answering surveys
  • Ask to join project teams if they want to be more involved
  • Vote for their favourite ideas to bring out the most popular ones

Speaking of voting, this feature can be very interesting in the context of a company hackathon. Indeed, after the period of collecting ideas, you can leave a few weeks for employees to vote for their favourite ideas. This internal support logic will naturally highlight the projects and ideas that make the most sense for your company.

This will also make it easier for the jury to select ideasby knowing what makes sense to the employees.

The projects selected by the jury will move on to the next stages of a hackathon. You will need to contact the teams concerned and possibly restructure these teams - if they require more cross-functionality for example.

Also, do not hesitate to bring together teams from similar projects. This is an opportunity to bring richness to the projects!

Jury of a company hackathon - collaborative innovation

Collaborative enrichment

Once the projects have been selected by the jury and the official announcements have been made, the enrichment does not stop there! There is still time for your community of collaborators to consult and enrich the selected projects, to share documents, but also to ask to join project teams.

Coaching of selected projects

For obvious reasons, this is one of the most important stages of a hackathon. Because you have selected teams, and now you have to accompany them towards the realisation of their project.

To do this, follow a precise methodology for experimentation. During this stage, it is also essential to provide the teams with innovation experts. They will have the necessary skills to lead them, ask the right questions, and accompany them in structuring their experimentation.

For example, experts can help teams define targets, users, value proposition, customer journey, service catalogue, main contact points, business model, etc.

The hackathon event

A hackathon is an event! Indeed, a hackathon is by definition an event lasting a few hours designed to accelerate the development of projects around a problem. It is therefore very important to bring together the selected teams, for 24 to 48 hours, to speed things up!

During the hackathon, an intensive coaching programme will be provided to the teams by experts. At the end of the event, the teams will be able to pitch their successful project to a jury.

Good to know: it is not always possible to gather all the selected teams in the same place for 24 to 48 hours. Your hackathon can therefore take place in a hybrid format, with a face-to-face part and a remote part including a livestream.

As you will have understood, the aim of this stage is to select the projects (it is up to you to define how many) that will benefit from aid to develop their project. This help also remains to be defined. It could be funding, time, additional coaching, etc.

The final stages of a hackathon: managing the aftermath

Accelerating projects

It takes a few weeks to accelerate projects. This key stage should be tailored to the nature of your organisation and the projects proposed. Nevertheless, an iterative approach of prototyping, testing and moving forward will often be followed.

At the end of this stage, each project team should be able to present a business case. It is on the basis of this type of document that the projects will be validated for possible indistrualisation.

This is also an opportunity to share on Beeshake the progress of the project and to keep people interested in these projects informed, engaged and involved.

The final stage of a hackathon: spreading a culture of sustainable innovation

Don't forget communication! It is also through communication that you will succeed in perpetuating a culture of innovation. This communication can be done at several levels:

  • Share on your communication channels the progress of the projects. Give news of the teams, and show the backstage of the experiments. This is an opportunity to promote the project leaders and to keep your hackathon alive over time.
  • Create a document that compiles all the ideas proposed, selected or validated. It is also an opportunity not to ignore the investment of the collaborators who were not selected. And it is often a nice souvenir.
  • Continue to create content to showcase all those who participated in one way or another in your hackathon as a whole. For example, you can publish "best moments" video clips, interviews with project leaders, ambassadors or experts. Don't hesitate to publish a white paper summarising all the lessons you learnt, etc.

In short, there are many ways to communicate and keep your hackathon alive! Don't let it be forgotten!

Organising a hackathon on Beeshake - Steps to a successful hackathon