Zappos Opens Up Their Internal Hackathon to Public

Hackathons are growing into a popular way to spark innovation around hardware, data and APIs within developer and hacker communities. I count over 40 hackathons going on in December alone, and this is just what I can discover and keep up with in my research.

Hackathons are also being used by many companies to drive innovation internally between departments. Businesses like LinkedIn and Zappos employ Hackathons and Hack Days internally to get recreate this same hackathon phenomenon within their own companies, in a much more controlled, safe environment.

Now Zappos is going even further and opening up their Internal Hackathon to the public. December 12th through the 16th of 2011 they are holding the Zappos API Hackathon Hack-a-long, which in the past, has been an event open only to Zappos employees, but this year, they want the public to hack alongside of Zappos employees.

On Monday, Dec 12th, Zappos will post a theme on their blog, and developers will have one week to hack up a project that fits in with the theme. Zappos will be awarding three $100 gift cards for to the winners in three categories: Best Mashup, Best Overall, and Most Fun and Weird.

Public developer apps will be presented along side internal Zappos employee projects, during their Hackathon Open House. The goal of the event is to help inspire Zappos developers and expose them to the passion and creative juices of the public Zappos developer community.

I’m spending a lot of time tracking on the evolving Hackathon phenonemon and how these events are spurring innovating both internally within companies and externally in public developer communities in cities around the globe. I’ll keep tracking on the innovation and talent coming out of hackathons and I am excited to see more companies adopt them internally and even inviting the public to come participate in the hacking!