• BDO Digital organises Mazda
    Hackathon with focus on (internal)
    customer and thorough teambuilding
Case study:

BDO Digital organises Mazda Hackathon with focus on (internal) customer and thorough teambuilding

15 October 2013

“This not so typical teambuilding enhanced the relationship between colleagues, renewed the focus on the internal customer and was a fun way to end the year.”

Hackathon |hækəθan|
A hackathon is a gathering where people collaboratively create and code a new or enhanced service over a short period of time


The Mazda IT department was looking for a nice way to end a 1-year corporate training program, which needed to incorporate the Mukainada spirit of the company, a teambuilding activity and a renewed focus on the (internal) customer. BDO Digital suggested a unique approach that covered all of these requirements in a fun and active program.


As Mazda had set clear organisational, behavioural and service goals for this event, we decided to organise a Hackathon based on the principles of Service Design.

In preparation for the actual Hackathon, we organised a one-hour kick-off one month before the start of the actual event, in which we gave an introduction about the Service Design principles (including some exercises). In this way, we set expectations and challenged the participants to carry out some preliminary user research and to come up with new or enhanced services if possible.

During the actual Hackathon, the different groups had 12 hours to transform mere ideas into a minimal viable service. The groups went from Low-fi to High(er)-Fi user tested prototypes by using our Service Design set of tools. We also encouraged the teams to keep going, even when they got stuck, prototypes failed or fatigue crept in. After 11 hours, the groups presented their prototypes in front of a jury (consisting of the heads of other departments of Mazda) and the winner was chosen.


The group created 21 pitches, 16 prototypes out of 7 ideas and 2 winners were elected (both ideas will get the chance to be further developed). Everyone worked hard and enjoyed themselves, but most importantly, many employees were actively engaged in the project because they were each able to put something personal into the ideas of their team. This inspired many participants and also gave colleagues the opportunity to get to know each other in a different way.

Thanks to the techniques we offered and the difficult questions we asked, participants were nudged to reflect on their internal customer (even when the concept they were creating wasn’t actually for that customer). They explicitly mentioned that they enjoyed the exercise and felt that this renewed focus on their customer was necessary.