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1 Post authored by: ashleywolf



Hackday.jpegDid you know that you can run innovation programs on Jive? At Yahoo we host a variety of internal innovation programs including a CEO Challenge for new product ideas, a CFO challenge for money saving ideas, Hackovation for innovative IT ideas, and our marquee internal developer program, Hackday, which brings hundreds of Yahoo employees from offices across the globe together to participate in a day of hacking.  


After running innovation programs at Yahoo for over a decade, we started using Jive last year to support our main Hackday program. Here’s a look at the transition from our custom solution to Jive.


Anatomy of a Hackday

We begin our Hackday process by setting up a website with all event information. We then invite our engineers to submit hack ideas to the website for review and voting. Collecting the hack ideas on the site builds momentum and helps recruit people to join teams. Once Hackday begins, teams add their project code and a short video showing what they worked on. Voting continues both online and in person until we select semi-finalists and the final winners. When all is done, the collection of ideas represents an archive of all the good work produced in the hackday. Some hacks then get selected for implementation.


The Old Process

With a company full of web developers, nearly every problem gets solved using a website. We created a custom hackday website to allow teams to upload their ideas, get votes, share their code and videos, and track their paths to glory (or archival, as the case may be). Like most custom tools, it worked great, but was disconnected from everything else.


Moving Away From a Custom Solution to Jive

Out of the box, Jive provides most of what we need for a Hackday submission process via its “Idea” feature. We knew our online savvy employees could easily navigate through the new software, so we decided to no longer direct them to a separate hackday website. We found that using Jive had a lower barrier to entry for non-technical folks. As a side benefit, new Jive users quickly became familiar with it once hackday was over, further supporting our Jive adoption efforts.


Moving hackdays to Jive was not trivial. Any process change requires testing and clear communication. It was also important to migrate old hack ideas from the custom website to Jive so our hackers could continue to build them. Thus, we leveraged the “import” feature and moved our content over.


New Hackday Site on Jive




While moving to a new system allowed us to rethink the hack submission process, there were some required workarounds to make Jive’s ideation module suitable for our program.


Jive’s ideation module does not support extensive customization. There are some flexible settings in the Admin Console such as custom fields, stages, and point values, but these are global settings affecting all groups, spaces, and projects using Ideas. This can be quite disruptive to users if you are running multiple ideation campaigns.


On the other hand, the Ideas module has some great features we didn’t have using the old system. Not only can employees comment on hacks, but anyone can use Jive’s @mention feature to call-out content and people on Jive to add to the discussion. Product teams can now search and discover ideas much easier.








One feature we rely on is custom fields to build a form for hackday submissions. We need more information than just title and description from Hackday participants. Along with communications prior to Hackday about upcoming changes to Ideas, we add the prefix “For Hackday Only” to custom fields to address any confusion, e.g. “For Hackday Only - Team Member #2 First and Last Name.” You can easily export all ideas from a space to a spreadsheet. We use that information for our judging process and to keep for archival purposes.



From announcements, to processes and policy, submissions, and voting, all aspects of Hackday are now in Jive. Our Jive adoption and engagement has greatly improved because of innovation programs leveraging the Idea module, and largely due to Hackday.


If you haven’t already started using the Idea module in Jive, I urge you to do so now. From internal feedback, discussions, ideas, and innovation programs, the Idea module is a great collaboration tool!


Now off to prepare for the next Hackday.





Ashley Wolf is the Technical Community Manager at Yahoo Inc., where she focuses on engineering collaboration, technical knowledge management, and information architecture. She is responsible for managing and curating Yahoo’s internal developer portal ensuring content is accurate and up-to-date. Prior to joining Yahoo, Ashley worked in project management, leveraging the understanding of the customer's business requirement to implement and deploy various CRM, content management and collaboration solutions. Ashley has a background in systems administration, community management, and product management from experience in information technology.

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