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Embrace Innovation: Our First Hackathon

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Martian team
4 min read
20.06.2022
Embrace Innovation: Our First Hackathon

Ok. It didn’t last 24 hours. But, that’s because we do things fast and agile here - we don’t overthink, we do.

Intro

As a venture studio, we love to create new digital products that could transform the entire industry and market. But, building startups is not an easy and simple task. For quite some time now, we wanted to dive into and explain the whole M&M venture-building process to our employees, as well as give them a chance to try it out by themselves. That’s why we organized this event and guided them through all steps we take in the process of actually turning an idea into a successful product.

The Preparations- Venture Building Workshops

Prior to the Hackathon, we organized 2 internal workshops, designed to enable employees to dig deep into the venture-building process and enable their entrepreneurial spirit.

Our co-founder and managing partner Jerolim, present the process and went through all of the steps of our PoC Checklist.

Workshop #1: From “No Idea” to Product-Market Fit

In the first workshop, we went through the first 3 steps of the venture-building process:

Jero explained what it means to set up a strong team and what is the importance of finding a founder that matches the idea (and vice versa). After going through the idea conceptualization and validation, we talked about MVP building - how to build the simplest version of a product that users can actually use with our Fake it until you make it approach.

Workshop #2: From PMF to a fully scaled organization and business

Here we found out what happens with the product after it gets launched on the market: What are the steps that need to be taken after the product gets to the market, how to set up a new entity, and what’s the difference between growing and scaling?

The Hackathon

After guiding them through the checklist - why not actually let them use it to build something?

It was our first time organizing an event like this, so we didn't have grandiose expectations or complex agendas. Instead, we did the (idea) hackathon with complete creative freedom precisely because there are so many people with great ideas who sometimes just don’t have the courage to start recognizing them. And if they don’t dare to realize their ideas, they won’t even know if the ideas would even be possible. We didn’t want that to happen to our Martians.

Group formation & Idea conceptualization

After a quick get-together over some coffee, Jero presented the agenda and goals of the event, as well as went through the rules of the Hackathon.

We divided Martians into 4 interdisciplinary groups with people that don't get the chance to work together often, to see how they handle challenges. Together. Each team got its own room with all the requirements (and snacks, of course.)

It’s time to work!

We didn’t go into the topic definition - Jero presented 4 opportunity fields that could be interesting for the teams, but each group had complete freedom to create and conceptualize their own idea. They had guidance for the problem-solving part - our PoC Checklist and a Pitch template for the idea presentation. For any additional questions, each team was assigned a mentor (Jero, Marko, and Flo) who was there to help them through the ideation part.

After a couple of hours of brainstorming, the ideas were here. And so was hunger. The Martians slowly started wrapping up their ideas and approached the table.

After finishing their meal, it was time to finish their ideas, and prepare for the final pitch! Three teams, three ideas, and three ‘judges’ to impress. It was tight but every hackathon needs a winner. So, congrats to the winning team, but congrats to everyone for their hard work and devotion.

We all know hard work deserves a reward, so after the hackathon, we went to go grab some drinks, eat some delicious food, and mingle Roots bar!

So, what did I learn?

Hackathons are great for learning to act quickly and strengthen your skills, as well as for challenging you to get out of your comfort zone. With such a short time frame, you often have to just get on with it rather than dithering about what to use. Doing and not overthinking is key. Don’t get fixated on one idea if you clearly see that it’s not working. One other thing that is crucial - is communication. Pay attention to what others are bringing to the table and feel free to challenge it. But, remember to be constructive - elaborate your arguments for everything. For many more events like this! Cheers, Martians!

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