Episode 38: Next Gen Hackathon w/Linda Krondahl

15 December, 2020 / Host: Magnus Billgren

Revolutionizing the Way Companies Innovate

Innovate or Die is a mantra often heard in management circles. It creates a dilemma for product managers who are responsible for evolving existing products and portfolios, but also want to deliver cool new products. While incremental innovation is possible in daily work, making significant innovative strides requires time and resources. Linda Krondahl at Things has come up with a solution called the "Innovation Challenge."
Collaboration and co-creation are at the heart of the project, and THINGS have explored various models and structures to create the next generation of hackathons that deliver actionable value. The Innovation Challenge is a three-month process designed to add innovation to your product. This article will explore Things in Stockholm's Next Gen Hackathon, how it differs from other hackathons, and its potential impact on the industry.

A Twist on the Traditional Model

Four years ago, one of Things in Stockholm's partners came to them with the idea of running a hackathon. While hackathons can be great for opening up innovation and connecting with local communities, they may not always be the best fit for big corporates from a product management perspective. The challenge was to move from an amazing bound of great ideas to something objective, breaking into the company's current structure, and releasing it worldwide.
To make sure that neither the company nor the people with ideas would use time and money in vain, Things in Stockholm decided to twist the traditional hackathon model a little bit. They wanted to make sure that whoever joined the company would not only get a fun experience but also tangible benefits that align with their structure and process of daily work.

What sets Things in Stockholm's Next Gen Hackathon apart from other hackathons is that it is not only about getting some great ideas but also about managing these ideas. Many hackathons have a high-level view of getting some great ideas but can be very difficult to manage. Next Gen Hackathon considers a wide range of stakeholders in the company, not only the product manager, and aims to increase learning and spearhead the industry.

The Benefits of Next Gen Hackathon

Next Gen Hackathon is an innovative way to bring new and fresh ideas to the market while also managing these ideas within the company's structure. It has several benefits, including:
  • Access to a Wide Range of Stakeholders: Unlike traditional hackathons, Next Gen Hackathon considers a wide range of stakeholders within the company, not just the product manager. This approach helps ensure that the ideas generated align with the company's values and goals.
  • Tangible Benefits: Participants in Next Gen Hackathon get tangible benefits that align with the company's structure and process of daily work. This ensures that both the company and the participants do not use time and money in vain.
  • Innovation Management: Next Gen Hackathon is not just about getting great ideas but also about managing these ideas. This ensures that the ideas generated can be implemented into the company's current structure and released worldwide.
  • Learning Opportunities: Next Gen Hackathon offers learning opportunities for both participants and the company. It allows participants to learn new skills and techniques while also increasing


  • Physical spaces and resources are still important for startups working with hardware, but many companies are now hardware-agnostic and use whatever tools and resources are available.
  • While hackathons can be a great way to generate new ideas and innovations, it's important for companies to think beyond the weekend event and consider how those ideas can be integrated into their existing structures and processes.
  • When organizing a hackathon, it's important to consider the needs and perspectives of all stakeholders, not just product managers or developers. This can include internal stakeholders like HR and legal teams, as well as external stakeholders like customers and partners.

Speaking of the importance of product management, it's worth noting that developing and honing one's product management skills can be a valuable investment for professionals in this field. And that's where The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program comes in. This program is designed to provide participants with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to excel in product management roles and advance their careers. The program covers a wide range of topics, including market research, product strategy, product development, and more. With a focus on practical applications and real-world scenarios, this program offers a comprehensive learning experience for aspiring and experienced product managers alike. So if you're looking to take your product management skills to the next level, The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program is definitely worth considering.
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