17 Innovation Program Micro Case Studies to Inspire your 2023 Plans

Jan 3, 2023 | Innovation, Hackathon

Does your 2023 Innovation Program include a hackathon, innovation challenge or ideation sprint? It should.

Do your 2023 Innovation Program include a Hackathon, Innovation Challenge or Ideation Sprint?

They should.

In German, there is an idiom used jokingly to describe a thing, person or solution that visibly only has benefits, satisfies all needs and meets all requirements: the mysterious “Eierlegende Wollmilchsau”. This translates to egg-laying-wool-milk-pig. 

Of course, this mystical creature was only linguistically invented to illustrate the idiocracy of assuming one thing could, in fact, deliver on everything one could want.

Having worked with clients across different industries, with different budgets and different objectives for their innovation programs, I believe, the deconstructed hackathon framework, might be it – the fabled Eierlegende Wollmilchsau. 

19 Micro Case Studies show how our clients elevated their Innovation Programs 

At Hackworks we take our clients through a conversational discovery process to explore and consult on the legitimacy and weighting of their innovation program objectives. This creates a shared understanding which is fundamental and often allows us to sort their event into one of three categories:


Is your objective focused on participants and their experience?

Objectives relating to:

  • Culture
  • Talent
  • Education


Is your objective about corporate storytelling and branding?

Objectives relating to:

  • Corporate Positioning
  • Stakeholder Engagement


Is my objective about what the participants are creating?

Objectives relating to:

  • Innovation Exploration
  • Innovation Implementation


All our events fall within these categories and were uniquely designed to deliver on one or multiple for the relating objectives.



Bell | GeekFest

Industry: Telecommunications

Core Objectives: Talent Identification + Talent Branding

This hackathon series positioned Bell as a technology leader, created a recruiting pipeline for new talent and delivered talent brand assets. On-demand, virtual workshop sessions prepared participants to showcase their skills and secure a co-op placement or full-time position at Bell.

Pre-event, educational workshops | 1-day in-person hackathon | 150 participants | CAD $10,000 in prizes

Capital One | Digital For Good

Industry: Financial Services

Core Objectives: Talent Branding + CSR + Corporate Positioning

Social innovators solved for tech challenges of local charities and NfPs in this experiential, non-competitive hackathon. Follow-on donations ensured solution impact through implementation.

3-day hackathon | 200 participants | 15 Charities + NfPs

TD Bank | Level Up Quest

Industry: Financial Services

Core Objectives: Talent Identification & Engagement + API Stress Testing

Over a month, technology savvy TD co-op students gathered once a week for a mixture of programming, coding and mentorship focused on TD’s pre-launch Open Banking API. This prepared TD to roll out TD Da Vinci externally while identifying top co-op talent.

Month-long Innovation Academy | 75 participants | 10 mentors


PARTICIPANT FOCUSED: Education Objective

Largest Alphabet Company | Cloud Sprint

Industry: Technology

Core Objectives: Onboarding + Up-skilling

Existing and desired corporate client teams participated in a prototyping hackathon to learn, collaborate and build using the clients’ Cloud Platform under a unified theme and supported by in-house cloud technologists.

2-day prototyping hackathon | 75 participants | CAD $25,000 in prizes

CIBC | ReHacktor

Industry: Financial Services

Core Objectives: Digital Transformation + Capability Building

In a series of workshops, 150 innovators from CIBC technology teams learned about the potential of emergent exponential technologies and immediately applied their knowledge delivering 25 solutions. 3 made it through R&D and into test-markets.

Workshop Series | 3-day hackathon | 150 participants | 25 Prototypes Developed

CISCO Innovation Labs | API Clarity

Industry: Technology

Core Objectives: Onboarding + Up-skilling

CISCO tasked client teams from around the world with a number of challenges aimed to explore the potential and build with APIClarity. Teams gained points as they completed challenges and gained deep understanding of APIClarity along the way.

2-day point-based competition | 180 participants from 44 countries | USD $10,000 in prizes

Bell | GeekFest Developer Conference

Industry: Telecommunications

Core Objectives: Knowledge Sharing + Capability Building

Bell hosted hundreds of software developers and architects, bringing together top talent from across Bell’s Network, IT and Bell Business Markets teams. During informative presentations, lightning talks and interactive workshops Bell employees were inspired to connect and invent for the future.

2-day Innovation Conference | 1,200 participants



IGM | ParadIGM Extreme

Industry: Financial Services

Core Objectives: Digital Transformation + Culture Shift

IGM used the innovative technique of a hackathon to immerse their organization in new ways of working to embrace transformation, enable change management, and drive engagement.

3-day hackathon | 100 participants | 16 ideas developed

CIBC | XX Design Challenge

Industry: Financial Services

Core Objectives: Open, Inclusive Innovation + Culture Shift

CIBC leveraged the hackathon framework to engage it’s female employees to deliver on technology enabled opportunities in the female economy.

3-day hackathon | 200 participants | 50 ideas developed


CORPORATE BRANDING FOCUSED: Corporate Positioning Objective

Oxford Properties | Oxford Hackathon

Industry: Real Estate

Core Objectives: Corporate Positioning

Oxford engaged 400 technology innovators around the globe to imagine the future of construction, promote the addition of global offices, immerse themselves in the local innovation communities and solidify their  reputation as a driver of innovation in construction.

3-day innovation sprint | Global Hubs: London, Boston, Sydney, Toronto | 400 participants | USD $20,000 in prizes

GoStudio | Innovation Jam

Industry: FinTech

Core Objectives: Corporate Positioning + Community Engagement

InComm Payments’ emerging technologies incubator GoStudio, established itself as an innovation engine through engagement of universities, incubators/ accelerators and technology partners to take part in a innovation challenge and deliver Ageing-In-Place solutions.

1 month innovation challenge | 200 applicants | 50 ideas developed


CORPORATE BRANDING FOCUSED: Stakeholder Engagement Objective

FIS | Ideathon + Hackathon

Industry: FinTech

Core Objectives: Co-Creation + Product Development

FIS – a financial technology company powering 80% of the worlds financial markets – engaged corporate clients in an Ideathon to uncover unmet needs and new areas FIS could solve for. This information was presented to the FIS technology team who build solutions to these challenges in an internal hackathon.

1-day client ideathon | 3-day internal hackathon | 16 PoCs delivered

Stantec | IDEA Hackathon

Industry: Consulting

Core Objectives: Stakeholder Engagement + Corporate Storytelling

The first Stantec Idea Hackathon gathered industry professionals over a two-day forum to share ideas, build relationships, and deliver results that are relevant and meaningful for the citizens of Toronto and beyond.

Speaker sessions | 2-day ideathon | 100 participants


OUTPUT FOCUSED: Implementation Objective

Oncology Nursing Society | ONS Hackathon

Industry: Healthcare

Core Objectives: Product Development + Up-skilling

A technology inspired competition for oncology nurses across the US, designed to identify innovative ways to address challenging issues in the delivery of quality cancer care.

Tech & ideation workshops | 1 week innovation sprint | 25 participants

AquaForum | AquaHacking Challenge

Industry: Not for Profit

Core Objectives: Startup Seeding + Product Development

A program to engage and support nextGen innovators as they solve freshwater issues in North America, from protecting source water to managing climate change impacts on ecosystems. Innovators are paired with expert mentors and guided through the ideation, innovation and pitching process.

3-month, incubation program | 10 challenges delivered | 36 startups established | 1 M in seed funding secured


OUTPUT FOCUSED: Exploration Objective

TD Bank | Tech Jam

Industry: Financial Services

Core Objectives: Technology Applicability + Up-skilling + Product Development

A non-technical, digitally inspired hackathon that empowers employees with the knowledge and opportunity to imagine and develop the next digital solution to better service clients.

3-day hackathon | bi-annual with new business units providing the challenge | 7 ideas fully launched

Canadian Federal Government | CODE (Canadain Open Data Experience)

Industry: Government

Core Objectives: Opportunity Scoping + Awareness + Use Case Creation

The Canadian open data Experience (CODE) challenged innovators across Canada to use the data available on Canada’s Open Government Portal to create data applications that help Canadians.

3-day hackathon + 1 day finale | 1,300 participants | 200 prototypes submitted | CAD $40,000 in prizes


As you can see, the diversity of our innovation programs and events is as apparent as our client roster – of whom 80% host more than one event with us.

Ready to work with us and leverage the powers of the Eierlegende Wollmilchsau / hackathon framework in 2023? Let’s talk.


Follow Hackworks on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Lydia Da Cruz

Lydia Da Cruz


Hi all! My name is Lydia Da Cruz, Director Innovation Strategy & Program Development at Hackworks, in Toronto, Canada. I am positively o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with what's next. I am first and foremost an innovation strategist and marketer. I love to sink my teeth into big problems – I am a challenge analyst and an opportunity mapper. I'm also a storyteller and engagement expert, and I truly believe that together, we can find more resolute solutions that we ever could individually. If you ever want to chat crowdsourcing, co-creation, hackathons, online challenges, reverse pitch programs – I've been working in this area since 2011 – feel free to reach out!

Related Posts

Creating Mission Advantage through Client Co-Innovation

Creating Mission Advantage through Client Co-Innovation

In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, organizations are seeking collaborative approaches to drive innovation. The benefits of which are established and range from risk reduction, increased product market-fit and relevance, enhanced customer satisfaction and commitment to a generally accelerated product development cycle.