The HRackathon © staged on March, 27th 2015, at the ‘’Ecole 42’’, with AXA, Danone and Société Générale, was a great success, well beyond our expectations.
The first cross-business HRackathon confirmed the successful ingredients of these new collaboration modes that we experimented during our missions.
This decoding illustrates the new opportunities of an entrepreneur HR function that seeks to satisfy the aims of company transformation that is not just digital in nature, and this in a speedy way. Substantive deliverables, prompt approaches, over-comittment and collective dynamics … what else should we ask for? To innovate in HR practices and solutions, I invite you to take the low-risk bet of innovative collaborative approaches and of technology use. Surprise your clients and your contibutors by offering them these experiences that are changing the rules and perceptions of the game.
Diversity enriches team collective intelligence
To innovate, it is important to work outside of the established framework and to master a mix of competencies, experience and aspiration conducive to innovation. This requires strong attention to the composition of the teams that will contribute. Making them multidisciplinary (skill and technical), multigenerational (3 or 4 generations) and open-minded (to contributors, students) generates a more diverse and intensive creative attitude. Of course, this ‘’science’’ casting is not only about creating a lot of diversity; essential complements are participation motivation and open-mindedness, combined with the capacity to analyse competencies or useful experiences in order to attain the aims of the initiative.
Agility methods deliver rapidly and collectively
In a pragmatic perspective, Agile methods do not get learnt; they need to be experienced… This is exactly what the HRackathon translates to. We become oblivious to the long-lasting tunnel effect by casting light on the collaboration path with intermediate delivery appointments. This fretwork process is punctuated by successive sprints that intensively mobilize the teams. The framework of this dynamic has to be in the interest of the teams: a clear and common debriefing, coaching on demand during the preparation phase, and finally, feedback during deliveries in ‘’the Jury wants the best for you’’ mode.
Gamification stimulates a ‘’marathon’’ level of commitment
Two days of intense implication can generate extraordinary results because they do not correspond (fortunately) to a regular rhythm of work. Beyond keeping participants awake during much of the marathon, gamification (rendering experience engaging by making it playful) contributes to the stimulation of creativity and emulation between teams. The most obvious mechanism in accomplishing this is competition between teams. It is always such a pleasure to see how much the spirit of competition crystallizes, almost instantly, a feeling of belonging to a team that did not even exist five minutes earlier. In this way, the ‘’Elevator pitch contest’’ transforms the delivery of each team’s project synthesis into a genuine public battle, in live streaming, and in which teams succeed in getting their members to participate despite the 90 second constraint.
Technology can be harnessed and devoted to innovation
In Human Resources, in particular, technology does not have a good reputation: deemed to be too complicated, too expensive, too long… Yet, in a world that has became digital, it represents the open door and the lever to create new HR practices. In the short interval of an HRackathon, developed applications are neither complete, nor sufficiently tested, but are user prototypes. We see more and more deliveries of applications that are almost operational thanks to the mobilized competencies and the use of the ‘’Lego Box’’ by encoders. All of these techniques will continue to get improved, and we will be able to produce really quickly, for HR functions, add-on applications that will enable HRIS to keep up a healthy pace (in a SaaS mode).
A month after the first HRackathon, we gathered our partners’ leaders to carry out an assessment. The positive echoes for HR innovation spread by word of mouth after this first edition were still very much alive in their organizations, but also abroad. Contributions and even recruitments were in progress. And finally -this was the main challenge- everyone now has an implementation project on track for applications that will be launched in the coming months.