It's time to reinvent management. You can help.

Want to be a part of the Hackathon Pilot? Well, come on then.

by Chris Grams on March 10, 2011


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Want to be a part of the Hackathon Pilot? Well, come on then.


In her post earlier today, Polly LaBarre introduced my new role as the MIX Community Guide.

One of my first tasks? I’ll be leading the Hackathon Pilot, an experiment in open collaboration we hope will help shape the future of the MIX and lead to genuine progress when it comes to crafting the “source code” for Management 2.0.

Earlier this week, we announced the winners in another great M-Prize contest (congratulations, Lisa, Joris, and Doug!), the HCI Human Capital M-Prize. The M-Prizes continue to be a compelling channel for contributing ideas and stories to the MIX (MIXers added almost 100 new hacks and stories as part of the Human Capital contest, and have added just as many for the ongoing MBA M-Prize). The MIX will be announcing some new M-Prizes this spring, so keep your eyes out.

Meanwhile, with the Hackathon Pilot, we aim to prototype another approach to contributing to the future of management-- one that supports collective work over individual contribution. The MIX team is putting together all sorts of mechanisms for enabling this sort of work, in part inspired by feedback and ideas from the MIX community (see the excellent contributions of Dan Oestreich, Annie McQuade, and Erika Ilves).

We're delighted to introduce the Hackathon Pilot, focused on deepening and making progress on the Enable Communities of Passion moonshot as a community of peers working collaboratively.

I know a thing or two about collaborative development projects. In previous posts, I've shared stories from a decade working at open source software leader Red Hat (although I’m the first to admit I’m better suited to writing in the language of management than C or Python). So we are also going to take some inspiration from the open source movement for the Hackathon Pilot.

Why did we choose the Enable Communities of Passion moonshot for the hackathon? Simple. The just-completed Human Capital M-Prize centered around this moonshot and generated a number of awesome hacks and stories. I read every submission, and believe they provide great raw material from which we can begin to craft some valuable management source code.

How the Hackathon Pilot Will Work

The Pilot will be split into four phases:

Phase 1: Definition

What exactly does it mean to enable a community of passion? What are the major “hack zones” where we have plenty of contributed material to work with in the form of existing MIX stories and hacks or where we still have a lot of ground to cover?

By the end of the definition phase, we’ll have a common understanding of the moonshot itself (maybe even resulting in a tweaked definition on this page) and some well-defined hack zones in which we’ll want to work.

Phase 2: Key Barriers

What is stopping communities of passion from forming in and around our organizations today? By the end of phase 2, we’ll have identified the key barriers standing in the way.

Phase 3: Joint Hacking

In this phase, we’ll start hacking. Working together (and testing out some new collaborative tools we hope to later roll out to the broader MIX community), we’ll write joint hacks that build on ideas already contributed to the MIX, address the key barriers, and maybe even explore new ideas that emerge from our work.

Phase 4: Uncharted Territory

In running projects like this in the past I’ve noticed that many of the best ideas come from participants along the way. By the time we get to Phase 4, I believe the pilot group will have developed a clear sense for where to take the moonshot beyond the joint hacks we've built in Phase 3.

Perhaps we’ll develop a plan to work with the broader MIX community to collect as many real stories as possible demonstrating the joint hacks in action or perhaps we’ll use our source code to “write the book” on how to enable communities of passion in and around organizations. Maybe an even more interesting or compelling vision will emerge. Personally, I’m comfortable not knowing all the answers yet and hope you’ll be interested in exploring uncharted territory with me. Which brings me to:

Why should you get involved?

Here are three reasons:

1. Meet smart and passionate people: The pilot represents a great opportunity to collaborate directly with the MIX team and other MIXers like yourselves who are all motivated to help create the future of management. I’ve already met some amazing people and expect you will too.

2. Design the future: Play an active role in the reinvention of management and help us invent the future of the MIX at the same time.

3. Get recognized: No promises that your participation will result in life-changing fame or fortune, but the MIX is a prominent stage. As you’ve seen from the M-Prizes, the MIX has some interesting and compelling ways of rewarding participants. We’ll continue this spirit of recognition in the Hackathon Pilot.

How do you get involved?

We’re looking for 10-20 people who are interested in exploring the future of the MIX with us. Does the Hackathon Pilot sound interesting to you? If so, please let me know.

To volunteer:

  1. Email me at chris(at)
  2. Feel free to tell me which aspects of enabling communities of passion interest you most if you like.

 I'll be in touch and I’m looking forward to working with you.

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