iD Hackathon Unleashes Creativity With Coders, App Developers, Game Makers

iD Tech in action

You may already know that at iD Tech, we run summer tech camps for kids and teens. We teach Minecraft game design, modding, app development, coding in Java, PHP, Python, and C++, 3D Printing, 3D Modeling, Robotics with Vex and Lego Mindstorm—you get the idea, right?

We're known across the globe as the #1 Tech Camp on the planet. But part of our secret? We try to create the conditions for happy, creative employees. Happy, creative employees make great things happen. Delightful things. Things that we never even knew we wanted  or needed. This blog post gives some insight into a Hackathon (what is a hackathon?) that took place this week in Santa Cruz, California for 12 dedicated, crazy, all-in employees....

Yesterday I drove over rainy, treacherous Highway 17 to a secret beach house in Santa Cruz with my partner in crime. The surf was big.


The secret Hackathon location was a block away from the pounding waves. The place housed 12. It was perfect.


People were bunked up. There wouldn't be much sleep.


12 iD Tech crew members were assembled: coders, curriculum developers, designers, and project managers. We even had a developer attend from across the pond in the UK. Hi there, Sam!


Home-cooked fajitas had been served a few hours before we showed up.


Cans of Dr. Pepper and Redbull decorated the house.


Surfboards were standing tall, suummoning the crew to be tested.


The crew was focused. Very in the moment. Invigorated by the possibility of building an app for our clients that would absolutely delight.


John was working his front-end development magic.


Dragon was deep in concentration coding in PHP.


Jacob was test engineering—after four Dr. Peppers you can get A LOT done.


Olga and Logan collaborated on design and testing with the app.


John was knee-deep in developing the next big thing.

Hackathon- health-diet

Kevin and Gen were collaborating and brainstorming over some dinner.


CDog developing late  into the  night. Somebody later said..."I heard CDog talking at 2am. Then I went to bed. When I woke up at 7am, CDog was still talking." How? Inspiration. And Redbull.


Getting ideas down on sticky notes. Everyone has a say.


Writing the code.


On the 40th hour, it was demo time. Each three-person team had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas and progress. Most of the hackers had rested for only a handful of hours the night before.

The end result? The final project is still a secret, but the journey of the Hackathon was priceless. Along the way, friendships were fortified. Relationships were built. Cross-functional collaboration organically blossomed. We'll take the experience the Hackathon offered, and bring that back to the office with us.

One of the big takeaways for our team—for all of us—is that we definitely can build the conditions for creativity:  no rules, lots of space to be curious, great food and snacks, a new place to be inspired OUTSIDE the office, and focus on one specific outcome without all the typical daily distractions.

I am really proud of our team. The demo was awesome. Each team took a totally different approach. And each team had some very, very valuable insight into what we should build next.

At iD Tech, we practice what we preach. We are hugely passionate about coding, game development, robotics, and all other technologies that can give our students a leg up. We love teaching. We love creating. We love developing unforgettable, transformative experiences that make people happy.

We were put on this planet to create summer camps for kids and teen programs that bring out the very best in our students. In our labs, music plays and students get up out of their chairs to collaborate. They are given personalized instruction from passionate instructors... and the belief that they can build an amazing final project in only a week. At iD Tech, the conditions for creativity unfold.

We have a passion for service, for teaching, for learning and building. The Hackathon from this week was a concrete example of how much can get done in a very short amount of time when you remove blockers and give people the opportunity to be creative—no matter whether those people are professionals or kids. Join us this summer to inspire awesome and creativity in your child.


A photo of Pete

Pete has been at the helm of iD since 2000. He resides in Silicon Valley. Pete has a love of design and is passionate about creating memorable experiences for kids. By day he is CEO, by night he is a youth soccer coach and chef of the house. Pete studied at UW in Seattle and worked abroad in Spain. He is fluent in Spanish, but his kids think otherwise. The best part of the job? Seeing the kids advance from tech novices to studying at top Universities and landing big-time jobs.