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Why We Do Hackathons at Cobalt

At Cobalt, we want to create a culture of innovation.

Create a culture of innovation

At Cobalt, we want to create a culture of innovation. We started off very well in 2013 when we founded our company — you can say we made a big innovation, a leap of faith, and started Cobalt.

As we started getting traction and looked at the metrics, we slowly became fixated on improving those metrics and measuring everything. But sometimes you need to work on aspects that cannot be measured.

We really felt like we had lost our ability to attack big and challenging problems that could create huge future potential in the long run. But with a company of 150 people — approaching 200 — how do you get those people to start innovating, feeling it’s OK to innovate, try risky initiatives, and work on exciting new things, when they have been almost conditioned to only work on things backed by clear data and analysis?

Allow Cobalters a space to work on anything

To help our innovation culture grow, we started multiple initiatives over the last year, and one example is a recurring hackathon event.

Hackathons are great because they give Cobalters a space to work on basically anything. They give Cobalters – whether they're on the product development team or in any of the other departments – a couple of days every six months to work on and have an outlet for fun and crazy ideas.

Hackathons actually work in multiple ways: They are an outlet for the ideas that build up over time that Cobalters are not able to work on daily. Hackathons also encourage people to come up with more ideas since they know we will have time to work on them later. We see ideas and hacks from other colleagues and are inspired to create ever more fun and exciting concepts.

Another great benefit of hackathons is that they allow Cobalters to work with colleagues from other departments, colleagues that they wouldn’t otherwise work with. This interaction gives each an insight into how the others work, what is important for them, and what kind of challenges they see day to day.

This knowledge and relationship building is an important aspect of hackathons. It is not just a benefit for Cobalt in terms of employees having better business context and understanding of each other, it is also way more fun to find new friends among your colleagues – friends that you wouldn't otherwise meet.


By fostering a culture of innovation through our hackathons, we are able to showcase the true creativity and initiative that Cobalters possess day in and day out. Our team is centered around humble learning, quality at speed, leading with grit, and One Cobalt — where we value each person’s contribution.

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About Christian Hansen
Christian Hansen is Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Cobalt. He’s focused on scaling the company and driving sustainable growth, as well as advancing product development through effective cross-functional partnerships with Product and Engineering. More By Christian Hansen