The Dark Side of Hackathons - how rapid design helps solve organisational problems

At Creuna, a customer experience agency, we increasingly use participatory design methods at organizations one would often consider big, traditional and conservative. Our results are very positive, but for different reasons than you might think. Hacking in big organizations is less about creating a setting where the original idea or the original solution might emerge, and more about creating a setting where organizational inertia can be overcome. Hackathons thus become less about hacking technology or hacking a problem, but about hacking organizational structure, hacking standard procedures, hacking emotions and pride, hacking time and hacking preconceived beliefs about what is possible. In a world where markets change ever more rapidly, fast often beats perfect, and as such the processes that we create and use in organizations should help overcome the real challenge; creating speed in the complex world of politics, power and information overflow that characterizes every big organization.