Reinventing Your Workplace Hackathon

Shifting your organisation to respond to the demands of the future

2-day Hackathon from £10/per person (min 100 people)

You know the workplace needs to keep changing. Are you keeping up?

Is your organisation able to adapt to the changes happening around you? Is it responsive to complex, ambiguous and unpredictable circumstances?

Change? But how?

You know that your organisation needs to reinvent itself. Business as usual is no longer adequate. You know you need to change. Yet you’re not quite sure where to go, how to move forward, what to reinvent. What should you change to? And how can you go about it in a way that sticks?


Self-management is often quoted as a feature of the future workplace. Yet you cannot manage self-management, that’s an oxymoron. Moreover you cannot manage the process of shifting to self-management either – the shift itself has to be self-managed.

Shifting at Scale

If you’re a small nimble organisation maybe you can fumble your way through, somehow reinventing the organisation organically. But if your organisation is large, how do you transform your workplace at scale? Turning a tanker around is not easy, so how do you do it?

We can help you go down the right track. We start with a Hackathon

Which form of organisation should you turn to?

You have heard of many new forms of organising and working, such as Lean, Agile, Responsive, Conscious, Beyond budgeting, Theory U ,Teal, Distributed leadership.

But you’re not sure which to turn to. Which way to go? What new system to adopt? Indeed who should choose? How can you get your whole organisation to reinvent itself, in a self-organised way, to reinvent the workplace in a way that is aligned with new ways of working? Especially as the old change management methods don’t work any more (if they ever did).

Open Space Technology enables collaborative innovation to explore new ways forward - at scale across all teams, all departments, across the whole ogranisation.

We invite you to participate in a cross-functional conversation exploring change in your workplace to be more innovative: a 2-day Reinventing Workplace Hackathon.

“What the vast majority of organisations are missing is humble inquiry and sincere listening. Managers must get over the idea that their role is to tell people what to do; once they do, they will be able to engage people much more and get the minds of the organisation working.”

Greg Lance, What Western Management is getting wrong, Planet Lean, 2016

How it works

You can't magically transform your organisation and its culture by wishful thinking. However, you can kick-start the process, while addressing burning issues.

In our 'Reinventing Workplace Hackathon 2-day event' everyone in the organisation, department or section is invited to play and get creative around the theme of reinventing the workplace to meet the future.

Participation is optional, cross-functional and fun. We use an 'Open Space' format to harness the power of self-organisation, with everyone free to follow their enthusiasm in pursuit of the goal.

Invitation-based co-creativity

The workplace needs to change. How people work together, how decisions are made, people’s attitudes to the places they work in, their values and how organisations are structured and managed, all of this is changing. This is partly because conventional ways no longer work, partly because of online interdependent connectivity (including digital networks), and partly due to millennials approaching work in a completely different way.

We offer a company-wide Reinventing Workplace Hackathon, to get you started. We cannot reinvent the workplace for you, only your people can do that, but what we can do is kick-start the process, give it a massive boost and positive spin, with a Reinventing Workplace Hackathon, in a way which is congruent with new ways of working.

Let’s kick-start the reinvention of the workplace with a Hackathon where everyone is invited to participate. This is best done over at least 2 consecutive days, ideally 3.

“In recent years , organisations as diverse as Ford, Netflix and Google have used hackathons to invent new products and solve thorny operational problems. In a hackathon, teams compete to come up with novel solutions and the most promising are then fast-tracked to implementation. How might such an approach be used to defeat bureaucracy? Imagine an online, company-wide conversation where superfluous and counter-productive management practices are discussed and alternatives proposed. The output of such a conversation wouldn’t be a single, elaborate plan for uprouting bureaucracy, but a portfolio of risk-bounded experiments designed to test the feasibility of post-bureaucratic management practices. “

- Gary Hamel & Michele Zanini, Top-Down Solutions Won’t Fix Bureaucracy, March 2016, Harvard Business Review

A culture of transformation

The Hackathon involves a 2 – 3 day Open Space Technology event (link) inviting as many people as feasible (for the size of venue and availability, without disrupting business too much). A Hackathon can be run for anything from 10 people to 5,000 people simultaneously. If your organisation is larger it can be done in stages with several events, but if so it is important to get a good mixture of different departments, different disciplines, different localities – indeed diversity is pivotal.

Why 2 days? As many who are familiar with ULab know before people in an organisation can start being creative they have to go through a phase of mourning, of sensing what is not working, of enquiry, of deep listening and of letting go of the old. Day 1 enables this deeper listening, this letting go, this opening of heart, mind and will, this dive to a deeper collective source, from which the new can emerge. Typically many organisations try to go straight to the next stage (e.g. by only having 1 day) and this is typically precisely what doesn’t work. After a night’s sleep in which the mind processes some of the very intensive conversations of Day 1, people come back on day 2 refreshed, newly energised and in a very creative mode.

Day 2 then becomes a co-creative process where the new, coming from the collective emerges. Usually at the end of Day 2 there is a clear sense of the new. If there is a Day 3 these ideas can be formed into an action plan in the form of prototypes, to then be tried out, tested and improved iteratively beyond the Hackathon.

Moving away from top-down

You cannot pre-plan change or reinvention, because the very act of planning in itself reflects the old paradigm. As Einstein said you cannot solve today’s problems with the very thinking that caused them. Reinventing the work place is not about some people at the top making a decision for a new direction and then creating a plan to roll it out, since that is precisely a repeat of the old ways. Reinvention needs to emerge from the collective.

Imposition doesn't work

Moreover, reinventing the workplace cannot be synonymous with adopting a new system, which is then simply imposed on the work-force. On the contrary this reinvention has to happen at all levels, by all members of the organisation. Indeed the whole workforce has to be invited to co-create the new workplace. Different styles can be tried out in an iterative way, but this can only be done by the workforce, not the executive suite.

Invite and let emerge

The need for emergence and the need to invite the whole workforce go hand in glove. Reinvention is far more than simply reshuffling, it effectively involves a paradigm shift: All have to be involved in letting go of the past, co-creating from a deeper collective source and letting the new emerge, whatever that may be.

Align with stakeholder

Moreover whatever new emerges needs to be compatible with clients and their needs, as well as aligned to society and compatible with the environment.

Scaling deeper conversations

All this would require thousands of conversations. Even with thousands of conversations taking place it would not be effective as it does not allow for cross-fertilisation of ideas, crossing the boundaries of departments and disciplines, and of ideas building on each other. That is why synchronous co-located conversations are needed - which is precisely what a Hackathon enables.

Everyone has a voice

The initial Hackathon is just that, a starting point. It is not really possible to determine what happens beyond the Hackathon as this will depend so much on what transpires during the Hackathon. What is important is that the ideas are implemented, prototypes are tried out and space is created to operate in an organisational beta-mode.

"Change management" is obsolete

"In a world where organisations are self-managing, living systems, we don't need to impose change from the outside. Living systems have the innate capacity to sense changes in their environment and to adapt from within. ....." Frederick Laloux, Reinventing Organizations, An illustrated invitation, 2014


No obligation, let's start a conversation about your needs. Please click on the link below. We'll ask you some questions to better understand your needs, we'll get back to you shortly after and take it from there.


  • Increased energy in organisation
  • Greater open transparency
  • More cross-border communications
  • Focus on creating value for end users
  • Increased innovation throughout
  • Scale

    An Open Space-based Innovation Hackathon hosted by Caterfly can be run for 10 - 5,000 people simultaneously, depending on space available. The more people from different sections of the organisation, the more diversity, the richer and more fruitful the outcome is likely to be.


    Guide price: £10 per participant, minimum 100 participants ≈ £1,000 for 2 days (e.g. 300 people would cost £3,000) at your venue - the price does not include venue hire, accommodation or food/drinks. Negotiable. The main cost to you is in getting all participants together for a highly focused day. This is designed to be a low risk, efficient and effective investment that is relatively simple to instigate and deliver.

    Let's start

    Please complete the form by clicking on the button below, so that we can better understand your needs, and we'll get back to you shortly after.

    Why 'Hackathon'?

    A Hackathon is a term used for a gathering together of people in a short, intense explosion of creativity to collaboratively solve a problem. Most commonly used in software programming, a 'hacking marathon' might create new products or fix issues. The phrase 'culture hacking' is also being used to describe people hacking - fixing or improving - company culture.

    What is 'Open Space'?

    A method for facilitating gatherings of people from small to very large around a common theme, using the principle of self-organisation. Its applications have been numerous and extremely diverse, but it is under-employed in organisations where it is rarely on the radar.

    What is 'Kaizen'?

    Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning continuous improvement. It is closely associated with an attitude and processes at the heart of Japanese management practice and organisational culture, especially automotive engineering and 'The Toyota Way', from which Lean and Agile approaches sprung. It has been claimed that Kaizen was fundamental to the post war Japanese economic boom. Kaizen invites us to continually strive to improve every aspect of how we work and what we make.