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The AT&T Developer Program’s Hackathon events are very popular among the mobile  app developers. I was able to attend the one in Seattle on April 13th and 14th.

From 5:30 to 7pm Friday night, 130+ developers showed up, networked and enjoyed dinner. From 7pm to 10pm, they listened to a few short technology sessions and recruited teammates for the projects that they had in mind. It was amazing to watch how quickly the teams were formed. The conference room closed at 10:30pm.

The teamwork started the next morning.  Interacting with a few of the teams, I was impressed by their ability to work together. The generous prizes for the winners were inspiring. I observed that when a team had a common goal with a reward incentive, there was a powerful display of team work.

By Saturday night, 21 applications were entered into the contest by each of the 21 teams. Five used the AT&T Cloud Architect (AT&T Infrastructure as a Service) to host their applications. The RaaSIO team (Robotics as a Service I/O) won first prize in three categories: Cloud, Apigee UserfGrid and SergeSDK. They designed a prototype robotic device with an integrated model that leveraged multiple mobile SDKs to build front end services using Cloud Architect as a Cloud based services delivery platform. (see attached picture)

In the book “Managing for the Future”, Anoona et al talked about a new organization model for better performance; “Flat is better than tall, flexible is better than predictable, diverse is better than homogeneous and global is better than domestic; regardless of the organization’s context”. I see that the new organization model was demonstrated at this Hackathon from the following perspective:

  • Networked: team work
  • Flat: Fewer layers, decentralized decision making
  • Flexible: Problem solving with fewer formal procedures
  • Diverse: Demographics, backgrounds, career paths
  • Incentive: team based

The outcome was extraordinary!


How do you structure an organization towards innovation?

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