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the role of hackathons in corporate innovation

What does innovation mean to you? What does it mean to be an innovative company, to create new ideas and realize them in the real world? According to Wikipedia, “innovation” means a “new idea, creative thoughts, new imaginations in the form of device or method”. Innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements or existing market needs. Such corporate innovation takes place by creating more-effective products, processes, services, technologies, or business models and is often seen in the engineering process when the problem being solved is of a technical or scientific nature. Let’s review a typical innovation process, for example:

The Innovation management process
Source: Hackerearth. POC — Proof of concept

The first step of the process is the discovery of the problem. Discovery is the act of choosing the area of focus for innovation. It can be emerging trends, a big market insight that has the potential to disrupt the market or even a game-changing technology.

The second step is ideation. In this step, we will figure out what can be done and generate as many ideas as we can based on the problem we identified in the Discovery stage. Rather than depending on a few ideas, we open it up to a larger group internally or externally and then determine the best idea for the next step.

The third and final step of the innovation process would be execution, where the ideas are evaluated and the best ones are shortlisted. This is followed by the development of a prototype, then a feasibility study, and if all goes well, bringing the idea to market.

The Role of Hackathons in the Innovation Process

Hackathons are part of tech culture. They are a playground for exploring possibilities. The premise of a hackathon is to bring together developers, engineers, product managers, UI/UX specialists and anyone else interested in product development for a fixed period of time (typically 24 to 48 hours) and have them use design and technology creatively to “hack” a new idea or a solution to a customer problem.

With hackathons, you can take the market insights you have identified, translate them into themes and problem topics, and then open it up for ideation followed by prototype development.

Source: HackerEarth

As you know, hackathons require teams to compete to solve problems in a short period of time. After receiving the challenge, all team members work together to discover the problem, conceptualizing and drafting solutions. That’s why hackathons can cover three of the four steps of an innovation process as the infographic above clearly shows.

At the end of a hackathon, corporations have the opportunity to find a solution to the problem they are looking for. Moreover, they can find the right team for the project. Hackathons thus solve the opportunity cost of hiring new talents. You can imagine a hackathon like an all-in-one toolkit in the form of an event that can leverage the company, both as marketing and hiring.

Today, global success and dominance is associated with being a tech-first, innovative company. However, while many companies have monetary resources, they lack the expertise to build a capable R&D team.

Hackathons are a great tool for sourcing for ideas and potential technologies to integrate into your current business. Without a lot of up-front cost or effort, companies can employ hackathons to develop the well-defined, stand-alone technology solutions they need to remain competitive in the marketplace. ~ Dr. Thuc Vu, Kambria Co-founder & CEO

Other Benefits of Hackathons to Corporations

The entire process of creating a hackathon, marketing the event, and driving registrations will make an impact on social media. It’s a tool for the company to leverage its brand awareness to target audiences. For example, in 2014, Microsoft organized a hackathon in Pakistan. It was one of the largest hackathons in terms of the number of participants; they hosted 419 teams with 878 registered participants over the course of three days.

Microsoft Hackathon Pakistan
Source: Microsoft

Kambria Global Hackathon For Open Innovation

This year, Kambria will organize the Global Grand Challenge, a series of hackathons in several different countries with a focus on creating the Ultimate Personal Assistant using advanced Artificial Intelligence and Robotics technology. Utilizing the Kambria platform, developers will collaborate to deliver solutions for our partners including top corporations in Vietnam such as SSI, VinGroup, VPBank, Techcombank, Kompa, and McKinsey with a chance to win up to $50,000 USD in prizes. To support this Global Grand Challenge, Kambria has purchased $50,000 USD worth in KAT from the market to be distributed to hackathon participants.

Through Kambria’s Global Grand Challenge series of hackathons in Vietnam, Kambria aims to strengthen the ties and build partnerships among all stakeholders in the advanced technology ecosystem, with an initial focus on AI and Robotics. By connecting huge pools of raw talent, including world-class engineers and scientists, with large corporations, our hackathons will help develop technology that caters to the needs of these corporations. Moreover, the technology will be developed and incubated to scale globally, thereby creating a worldwide impact.

If you are a developer interested in building applications related to artificial intelligence, sign up here! Through the Challenge, you will have the opportunity to train, network, and compete with other teams across the globe to create the Ultimate Personal Assistant. Please stay tuned as we will announce the opening of registrations in the next few weeks.

Read more about Kambria Global Grand Challenge 2019.

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KAT is a token used on the Kambria platform.


Kambria is the first decentralized open innovation platform for Deep Tech (AI, Robotics, Blockchain, VR/AR…). Using our platform, anyone can collaborate in researching, developing and commercializing innovative ideas and get rewarded fairly for their contributions. Through partnerships with government agencies, top universities and leading companies, Kambria is dedicated to building a sustainable open innovation ecosystem to change the way we innovate and to accelerate advanced technology development and industry adoption. Together, let’s shape the future of technology where technology is open and contributing more to society.

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