March 2021
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Develop Organizational Solutions With a Hackathon

Monday, March 1, 2021

Bring colleagues together to brainstorm ways to address a talent development challenge.

As an L&D practitioner, you are likely familiar with asking subject matter experts about behaviors and skills that make for excellence. But what about when you're facing a talent development challenge? Have you considered involving employees who are closest to the challenge with solving it?


Consider hosting a hackathon. This short-term event leverages a diverse skill set by bringing together teams to ideate solutions or new products or processes. A hackathon can emerge insights from employees who are close to the challenge and have impetus to develop a better alternative.

In "Execute a Hackathon to Solve L&D Challenges," John Parsell outlines how to get started. First, think about the issues your company faces now or will likely face in the near future. "Your organization may anticipate rapid growth, need to implement a new technology, or need to find ways to combat attrition," Parsell offers. Then create quality challenge statements based on those concerns.

For example, if you want to scale customer service representative onboarding, your statement could read: "How could we redesign our CSR onboarding program to support more than 500 new CSRs at the busiest time of the year?"


When you assemble teams to address your challenge, make sure to choose individuals from throughout the organization so that they bring an array of views on the problem. They should include not only a person close to the problem (such as a customer service representative) but also a leader, an L&D professional, and a marketing or communications expert.

These tips were adapted from the March 2021 issue of TD at Work. Learn more at

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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