Last Thursday, the April 21st, was a sunny day in the Westerpark in Amsterdam, and the walls of the Impact Hub gave a first indication of what was about to take place there over the next one and a half days: an intense journey of “re-imagining, re-inventing and re-designing HR” - it's HR hackathon time!
PeopleHackfest’16 may not have been the first ever hackathon for the Human Resources discipline, but it was the first hackathon for most of our participants. No one was sure what would be accomplished by the end of the day, but everyone was excited by the idea of the seemingly endless possibilities ahead.
Our moderator and host, Tom Haak, led us through the hacking journey. Participants were divided into 5 teams, based on which HR challenge they had previously chosen to tackle, and went on to find solutions to three great HR challenges: Developing Leaders, Recruiting the Right Talent, and Performance Management.
While participants seemed baffled by the idea of being able to come up with an app idea by the end of the day – and the jury was just as doubtful, to be honest – they grew confident of their possibilities as the day went by. A quick live poll just before 3pm revealed that most of them believed they had already come up with some cool ideas, and 10% even believed they were about to revolutionize the future of HR!
Of course this transformation was not only thanks to the participants’ hard work – and we know they worked very hard! –, but also thanks to a clear hacking methodology they followed. Talmundo had designed and shared a 3-step methodology that guided their work during the day, taking them from a greater challenge to a specific one; from a specific challenge to a concrete goal; and, finally, from a clear goal to a feasible solution. Talmundo’s own expert team in design, UX & functionality and development also provided guidance throughout the day, acting as a sounding board for teams’ ideas and challenging their thinking.
At 4pm, Talmundo’s co-founder Menno Thijssen took the stage to share his personal insights on giving a winning pitch, and the groups broke out one last time to polish the last details of their app hacks before presenting their work to the jury and everyone there.
All that hard work came to a head at 5pm, when the five teams presented their hacked solutions: the PLL app (Leadership Development); DNApp (Recruiting the Right Talent); Lead2g@ther (Leadership Development); iHelp (Performance Management); and Alkimia (Recruiting the Right Talent).
Another live polling by participants, and team Alkimia won the title of Best Pitch, with the iHelp, Lead2g@ther and Alkimia apps as front-runners for Best App. Only one of them would be made into a functioning prototype overnight.
After the hard day of work, our jury formed by Wouter Van Linden (KPMG Belgium), Christian Kuhna (Adidas), Tim Callebaut (BNP Paribas Fortis), Tom Haak (HR Trend Institute and Crunchr) and Stijn de Groef (Talmundo) deliberated and choose the winning app. While everyone rested, our team of developers and designers worked hard to make a great idea come to life, which would be revealed in the next morning.
The second day featured two inspiring talks by our VIP speakers, and jury members, Wouter Van Linden and Christian Kuhna, giving participants a chance to learn about some innovative HR projects by leading companies, while building up the curiosity and excitement before the revelation of the big winner.
Wouter discussed a topic of great importance for corporations: “How to disrupt HR in a traditional environment?” Christian, following up, talked about “Think Tank: Future Trends & Innovation”, inspiring us to think about the megatrends which will shape the future of HR.
Finally, the winning app was revealed through a demo of its functioning prototype. The Alkimia app was – once again – the big winner. If in the beginning participants were unsure of what they could come up with in such short time, they were now amazed to see how quickly and easily their knowledge was turned into a tangible tech solution.
In the end, why host an HR hackathon?
At least once in your life, you have probably come across a situation where you were left thinking “there should be an app for that.” As our CEO, Stijn de Groef said, “we chose to host a hackathon because there’s still so much left to hack!” During the welcome speech on day 1, we asked participants what were their thoughts on what makes a successful hack. Some of the answers that popped up were: new thinking, inspiration, unconventional, collaborative, speed, human-centered – and in the end, they were right. Those words describe perfectly what PeopleHackfest’16 was about after all.