keeping innovation alive

In Keeping Innovation Alive – The Hackathon Joe Kraus describes a one-day event at his company, in which the developers all get to work on something new and different. Normal development stops for the day, and everyone has just that one day to produce something, anything they want to. The idea was also tried over at Feedburner. Both blogs provide details of their rules for the day, together with a full round-up of the results they achieved. Which are pretty impressive.

I’m wondering about two variants on this idea. In the first, the day is spent fixing those little niggly things that get up someone’s nose. We could begin with an open session in which everyone – including sales, marketing, directors – whiteboards their pet peeves. Then developers just sign up for anything that takes their fancy and spends the rest of the day fixing it.

In the second variant, it’s not just about development. Perhaps all of the other departments in the company could stop for the day too, and fix pet peeves in their own bailiwick. Or maybe we could get cross-department pairs going on the fixes…

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One thought on “keeping innovation alive

  1. Merlin Mann over at 43 Folders has written of two similar “life hacks”: (1) Scheduling “‘a dash’, 2 to 4 hours, twice a month for researching and conquering little stuff that’s been driving you nuts.” (2) “Cringe-busting your to-do list”: finding an item that’s been on your to-do list too long, figuring out why it makes you cringe (if it doesn’t, why haven’t you done it yet?), and determining the next concrete action you can take to accomplish it. I use this idea as a “bite the bullet” session, just to clear some old annoyance off the list.

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