HR can use Hacking to Crowdsource Cultural Changes !


Attached above is a case study on how HR can play a lead role in eliminating the barriers to Adaptability and in building new capabilities that facilitate a proactive change.

In April 2013, CIPD and the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) invited HR and business leaders to crack the adaptability challenge through a hackathon—an online problem-solving event designed to harness the collective intelligence of progressive HR and management practitioners from around the world. Over 1700 people signed up to participate.

The hackathon was a hands-on, collaborative effort focused on finding, developing, and implementing real-world solutions that could be experimented with in real-world companies. Using the MIX’s groundbreaking methodology, the hackathon community was able to address the following key questions:

  • What are the defining characteristics of adaptable organizations?
  • What are the barriers of adaptability?
  • How might we overcome these barriers?

The methodology used was Management Hackathon

A management hackathon is a mainly online, open-innovation event in which participants jointly solve thorny management problems. Hackathons are structured as multistage problem-solving efforts that involve learning, diagnosis, priority- setting, idea generation, idea ranking, idea elaboration, prototyping, experimentation, and feedback. During a hackathon, participants “swarm” specific management challenges, developing and prototyping management hacks—bold yet highly actionable ideas for re-inventing processes such as strategic planning, resource allocation, and talent management in ways that make a decisive performance difference.

The above case study showcases how a Cultural opportunity was explored using Hacking as a method, to create multiple ideas and prototypes that can then be taken back and implemented depending on the Organization background and needs.

How can HR drive such Growth Hacking in terms of Cultural Shifts?

HR does play a lead role in thinking Organization Culture, Driving Change etc. However, the involvement of the larger organization in these efforts are limited to being respondents to questionnaires or focus groups interviews that seek their opinion to study the “present” and get an idea of the “future”. Rarely does the larger organization participate as a player in defining the change programs. Now, HR can change this by adopting the concept of hacking events that will bring together to cre3ate solutions for Organizational problems (Culture related problems). And HR can set the agenda of these events by:

  1. Identifying what is the big Business Problem or situation from a Cultural Context that the Organization is facing?
  2. Earmarking a time / day or definite period for posting this as a topic for collective hacking – either as a physical or virtual event
  3. Exploring ideas that will take the present situation to a desired state
  4. In groups building prototypes to actualize the ideas and a framework to take this forward

In organizations today, there is a propensity to convert every such opportunity into one big project – which may or may not be inclusive to the extent of involving everyone’s interests or ideas. Hacking as a methodology empowers a larger community to come together and look at the problem from their own lens, bring in their point of view, explore their unique ideas and build solutions. At the end its one big collaborative effort to move th organization forward. And HR can use this to create events that involve the larger organization to contribute towards defining and building the organization culture. Thus giving rise to the practice ofcrowdsourcing Organizational Development.


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