Superhuman uses a Hack Day Framework to build something new — from start to finish — all in one day.
Hack Days, or innovation days, are special events designed to unleash creativity and innovation within an organization. Companies like Google and Atlassian have their own versions, such as Google's 20% rule and Atlassian's Ship-it Days. Superhuman has popularized this concept further with their "Hack Days Playbook," a structured framework to drive such initiatives. These events are opportunities for team members to break away from their regular schedules and focus exclusively on a project that inspires them.
The principle is rooted in the idea that, while day-to-day operations are essential, they often leave little room for creative exploration. According to research by Amabile and Kramer (2011), giving employees time to focus on projects of their choosing can lead to increased levels of creativity, engagement, and job satisfaction.
Set the Stage: Announce the Hack Day well in advance, outlining the goals and rules. Make it clear that this is a time for creativity and that all types of projects are welcome.
Allocate Resources: Make sure that teams have access to all the tools, software, and information they need to bring their ideas to life.
Create Cross-Functional Teams: To drive interdisciplinary innovation, consider forming teams that bring together individuals from different departments or skill sets.
Time-Box the Event: Stick strictly to the one-day timeframe. This constraint often fuels creativity, as it forces teams to focus and prioritize.
Showcase and Celebrate: At the end of the day, hold a presentation session where teams can share what they've created. This could range from a working prototype to a conceptual framework. Celebrate all achievements, irrespective of their scale.
Feedback Loop: After the event, collect feedback to understand what worked and what could be improved for future Hack Days.
Implementation Strategy: Some projects may show promise for actual implementation. Identify these and consider allocating resources to develop them further.
Regularize the Event: Given the potential benefits, consider making Hack Days a regular part of your organizational culture.