​How can innovation be taught in just 8 hours? / Gal Barzilay

The Hackathon winning experience can be tremendous, the intense effort, pressure, and anticipation make the experience particularly exciting. Every Hackathon participant strives to take first prize and that is the main goal throughout the day, but the way to get there can be the real win.

So how can an 8-hour event be among the most instructive lessons in our academic studies?

Innovation in Organizations Hackathon takes place every year at the School of Entrepreneurship at Reichman University, as part in one of the Special programs in the school, Leumi Innovation Project. This is an outstanding program in collaboration with Bank Leumi, which includes a theoretical and practical learning experience on innovation in organizations and is attended by 13 students studying in the entrepreneurship program.



As part of the program, large companies in the Israeli economy comes to the Hackathon and presents to the students a business challenge. Each team endeavors to provide the best solutions for challenges facing the Israeli business world today.


My dream team included two good friends; Yoad Ashuri & Noam Ginsberg, we were then joined by Revital Goldstein, a representative of Bank Leumi, and Michal Ziegelman, an expert in leadership development. On the day of the event the team met and after quick acquaintances we set off. Our challenge was prescribed by Bank Leumi's business division and after a brief explanation of the challenge, we started the thinking process.



Our 1st steps were to analyze the problem, understand where the real need comes from and understand why current conventional solutions are not creating the desired outcome. Many questions were posed to get to the root of the problem which helped us understand the need and find a solution that was satisfying to the whole team. The initial pitch was prepared, a logo was designed, and our ideas were collected and molded into one fluent presentation.


Despite our short deadline and boding pressure our initial presentation received a very good response and the team successfully advanced to final presentations. During this stage, the time constraints started to impose a real threat and the pressure was on. To our delight, we managed to complete the presentation with a few minutes to spare, with the little time left we memorized the pivotal points of the presentation.



With great excitement and pride I took the stage and presented our solution, we believed in the idea and my words flowed, it was a great feeling. After much anticipation we were informed that we won the first place, the excitement was great and bank Leumi was thoroughly impressed, to the point that they intend on developing our idea.


8 hours went by so fast but during which we learned a lot, so what did I learn?

I learned that teamwork is done by communication, a strong team creates effective work, and there is never an ideal time or circumstance to create something great.

I also learned that no matter what you have to offer at a certain point in time, if you believe in an idea then it is your responsibility to present it with complete confidence.


We received tools and practical experience in just 8 hours that will serve the rest of our professional careers. It was invaluable to meet mentors and employees who foster innovation on a daily basis and are always looking for the next big ideas.


Above all, the greatest reward was the sense of self-efficacy that we get, a sense that shall accompany us throughout our degrees and beyond. Knowing that you have succeeded in something gives a lot of motivation to keep doing great things and to strive for the new goal every time.