1 day, 1 charity, 2 cities, 3 teams, 1 challenge…


As specialists in design-thinking practices, we’ve been employing new methodologies such as Hacks, Jams and Sprints as an innovative shortcut to traditional working practices to deliver brilliant solutions quickly.

From creating a modular travel insurance proposition and testing it with AXA’s prospective customers in just 5 days, to coming up with Unicef’s 3 year global comms platform for Child Survival in just one day, we’ve adapted Google Ventures’ SPRINT process to meet any business challenge across any industry or sector. Which is why we were so excited to try out our One Day Hack with our client Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C).


Like SU2C, Cancer Research’s ‘rebellious little sister’, we have an irreverent spirit. So, we were thrilled to get the chance to use what we do and love - creative technology - to answer their challenge and “Reach new fundraising audiences through their passions, leveraging their networks to increase donations”.

SU2C is a cause really close to our hearts, so there was a palpable sense of excitement rippling through the agency in the run up to the Hack. We knew the winning formula to solving big problems like this, but what ideas would we generate?

It’s really exciting seeing how everyone has got behind it and so brilliant that everyone has given up their Saturday to come together and work on this challenge for SU2C.
— Alice Gayner, SU2C.

The Secret to Success - 5 guiding principles

Although you can serendipitously guide teams towards success on the day, there are many things to consider beforehand to lay the foundations for creativity, establishing a fertile territory for success.

  1. Agree the right format: By blending the more familiar ‘Hackathon’ format with some elements from SPRINT, the format of the SU2C Hack was designed to inspire and excite while also providing the right framework for business-focussed creativity.
I think the hackathon method is really interesting, just the way it expedites the creative process and brings people together in one place
— Alice Gayner, SU2C

2. Inspire: One of the best ways to get creative ideas flowing is to let the challenge percolate overnight. In the SU2C Hack, we announced the challenge the night before with a Primer deck outlining some inspirational approaches. Just the right amount - not too prescriptive, not too wide. Some of the inspirations we used were Drone Racing, Innovative GoPro content and fitness trackers to get the juices flowing!

Forcing you to be really focused, just giving someone a really short period of time, really energises people. It’s exciting!
— Mimi Gordon, SU2C

3. Choose teams wisely: It’s important to have a blend of business thinkers, creative thinkers and technology thinkers in each team to ensure you cover feasibility (Is it technically feasible?), viability (Will it be good for the business?) and desirability (Will people want to engage?), with the collaborative result driving innovation.

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Blending your Strategists with Creatives and Technologists you’ll ensure your solutions will deliver value for consumers and business alike. At the SU2C Hack, we brought together some of our best Developers, Strategists, User Experience experts, Creatives, and Client Services professionals to solve the challenge at hand.

4. Ideate with the client: Having your client in the room cuts out the endless rounds of approvals you get when creative vision and business reality are physically separate. Nobody knows their business better than your client, so encouraging them to contribute to the ideation capitalises on their expertise to drive the solution (where we’re the expert) and enables rapid iteration, getting to workable solutions at super speed.

5. Embrace the flat structure: In sprints there is no hierarchy, so the ideas do genuinely come from everywhere - quiet voices pipe up and creative ideas come from all areas. There’s nothing quite like this format to unite a team around a common goal.

On the day I was intrigued and inspired by the creativity and passion to make a difference.  People across many disciplines coming together and forming a “Team” in its true essence.
— Michael Lynch , Group Business Director
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So what did we create?

Well, that would be telling ;)

Suffice to say we finished the day exhausted but elated with three very distinct and inspiring ideas, including a game (yes, we built a rudimentary game in a day!), an AR-mapping solution that blended the virtual and physical worlds, and an interactive socially-enabled infographic that demonstrated contribution to the cause. Each team tackled the challenge completely differently, producing a working prototype and marketing plan for development for each idea.

It was great for so many of our developers to be able to get stuck into testing and bringing to life ideas across so many exciting areas – AR, social media and gaming.
— David Storey, Realise Head of Web Development

Shake it up!

Sprints, Jams or Hacks are a brilliant way to generate ideas, products & services or solve huge business challenges. Get people focussed on one clear goal and you’ll get a disparate team bonding and solving problems as one.

So if you have a thorny challenge, such as:

  • Developing a new product or service

  • Bringing together or reinvigorating your team

  • Generating brilliant creative ideas to crack a campaign brief

Try disrupting your traditional working practices and unleash creativity with a sprint.If you’re interested in running a sprint but not sure you have the right skillset or experience in-house, we’d be more than happy to help out. Get in touch with us using the form below!

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