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Why hackathons are the best at raising the standards of every industry, sustainably

A hack-a-what now?

So there’s this relatively new concept called ‘hackathon’. While in the IT world every trusted professional has already been to at least five of these, most of the people in other industries haven’t even heard about it.

And that’s a pity.

Because hackathons are a type of community-oriented events where professionals from different industries gather to solve an issue through tech solutions they get to come up with. Most of them have a theme, and you can either come with a team of your own or be paired with one.

The intensity differs. Some events are 24 hours of laboring with no pauses and way too much coffee to even mention it here, others are stretched over an entire weekend and only take place during day-time.

So what happens here in terms of the flow is this: you are a professional in the X industry. For the purposes of this article, this X will be law. You’re working in the legal industry. However, your industry isn’t yet digital-first. Its digital transformation has just begun, and there are many areas of improvement off the top of your mind.

Aaaand in comes the solution. You find some terrific IT professionals who are gifted and willing to show off their skills, maybe a product person who knows how to make a digital product market-fit and you’ve got yourself a winning chance.

You gather at the event, with or without an idea in mind and start brainstorming.

The best advantage of a hackathon – being out of the office

This is not one of those Garfield-hates-Mondays types of situations. I love my job. But jobs are often about tasks and deadlines and focusing your creative energy on finding solutions for your clients rather than solving industry problems with your brilliant, but resource-lacking mind.

However, chances are your industry has problems. It has a lot of challenges to overcome that are plain and commonsensical and yet no one ever addresses because who has the time?

You do. At a hackathon. Where you’re focused on a creative approach. Your mindset is already in solution-finding mode, so coming up with a technical idea that could benefit your entire industry doesn’t sound impossible anymore.

And the best ideas come from ‘crowds’

Not the kind of crowds that used to start rebellions in the Middle Ages. But actual professionals from complementary, if very different areas of activity. Peers from other industries, if you will. People who are systematically trained to create solutions designed to sell, and to last and to cause as few bugs as humanly possible.

Being in contact with these people isn’t just a terrific exercise of getting out of your (legal, was it?) bubble, it is an actual, scientifically-proven working structure that brings out the best in people and puts their creative ideas at work for the good of the community.

So this is why us at Quart love hackathons. So when Madalina Hristescu from Hristescu & Partners approached us and told us all about her initiative to bring the Global Legal Hackathon in Romania for the third consecutive year, we just couldn’t say no to that.

Because digital-facing solutions are what makes humankind shine.

It sounds pretentious, but I promise you it’s as doable as bringing your casserole of homemade food instead of ordering at the office. No, scratch that. More plausible even.

As truth has it, it turns out we’re more creative in pairs, and even more so when we talk to people from different areas of activity.

And the explanation for this is simple – when you talk to someone who isn’t your co-worker, you’re forced to ‘dumb-down’ all your jibber jabber to essential truths that are explained very plainly. And this, in turn, makes you a) not look like a pretentious person and b) look at your own industry from a totally different angle. It’s getting you out of the box, along with your ideas.

Come join the Global Legal Hackathon 2020

Ionut will be there as a mentor – this is how excited we all got. Training people to understand what a product needs to survive in the digital world is kind of our thing, and he is going to pass on some of our agency’s best practices to anyone courageous enough to take a weekend off and show some real talent.

The Global Legal Hackathon is the largest of its kind. It takes place all over the globe March 6-8. In Bucharest, it is at Mindspace Pipera.

Fun fact – Romania won the grand final in New York last year, so good luck living to the expectations. The final in 2020 will be held in London in May.

So, in the words of Pink Floyd, Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine.

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