Movio’s Hackathon is an opportunity for people from all areas of the business to come together for a single purpose: to build something cool from scratch in 24 hours. It’s a time where the Movio Crew can determine what they want to put their energy into, team up with people they wouldn’t ordinarily work with and lose all concept of time and life outside of that moment. It is motivation and collaboration in its purest form.
Our Hackathons kick off at 1pm Thursday and end at 1pm Friday. The crew are encouraged to cross boundaries, break rules and do whatever it takes to build something awesome that they can present back to the company and Chief Executive on Friday afternoon. It’s an opportunity to put ‘Business As Usual’ on hold, and unleash all of our biggest, boldest ideas out into the world - some of which get incorporated into existing products or inspire new ones.
Now, I have experienced my fair share of Hackathons in different places over the years: some with strong corporate agendas, some with very little direction and, most recently, one at Movio - fuelled by pure, raw passion and motivation.
As Movio’s Engineering Manager, I was blown away by the sheer enthusiasm and passion that so many of the crew showed throughout the 24 hour Hackathon. Teams were having high five moments, music was blaring and everyone was tapping away furiously on their keyboards.
Traditionally, although Hackathons run through the night, no more than a few diehard characters really push through the graveyard shift. But, at my first Movio Hackathon, I couldn’t believe what I saw when I did a quick whip around of the office at midnight. Everyone was still here. Towers of Red Bull, audible frustration and excitement, exhausted faces with no signs of switching off... It was all still here. The idea that this sense of motivation could be sustainable was just mind-blowing! To me, it was solid proof that in an environment with the right conditions, an incredibly motivational workspace is possible - even seven hours after everyone was meant to go home.
In saying this, I did proceed with my original plan of heading home for a (guilt-ridden) nap. But, as I tried desperately to sleep, my mind was still buzzing with all the features I was yet to build. All I could think about was getting back in the office to continue with what I set out to complete.
Let’s think about that for a minute. This is my own time. This is unpaid. This is a project that isn’t going to go anywhere. But here I am, along with my colleagues, eagerly willing to get back to work after five hours sleep.
Why were we all so engaged? Why were we all so willing to spend our so much of our own time working on Movio Hackathon projects? I think there were two key reasons:
- Self-selection - Every individual was empowered with their choice of what to work on. It wasn’t pre-determined by their manager or anyone else - it was 24 hours of freedom.
- Team spirit - There was a strong sense of collaboration and making our teammates proud. We said we would build something, and we weren’t stopping until we did.
It was an immensely gratifying, challenging and fun Hackathon. There were 13 teams in total, made up of engineers, UX designers, marketers and the odd salesperson, with some incredible projects brought to life in 24 hours. To get a feel for the action, check out the video below, created by our Events & Communications Manager, Ashleigh. And if you’d like to be involved in our next one, check out the careers page - we’re always on the hunt for people wanting to help us push the boundaries.