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Tapping Into Your Inner Hacker

February 11, 2017

Essentially, hacking is a deviously creative problem solving process. As author Josh Linker pointed out, “While hacking can clearly be used for wrongdoing, it can also serve as a powerful model of growth, innovation and success.”

For example:

  Dr. Jörg Gerlach’s hack on the treatment of burn victims borrowed spray paint methodologies to create a Skin Gun.  It sprays a mixture of the patient’s stem cells and saline, vastly reducing the risk of infection and recovery time.

And Jerome Hardaway’s hack on the treatment of vets with PTSD, #VetsWhoCode, provides transitional assistance (rather than waiting until vets are in crisis), coding-specific programs and critical talent for employers.

These examples, and others in his book, positively flip hacking strategies like:

Brute Force,


Exploiting small breaches,

Phishing, Agile bursts,

Borrowing, Mash-ups,

Deconstructing and Reverse Engineering.

They also demonstrate how even a malicious ethos can be hacked to produce a positive source of inspiration and energy.

There are core mindsets that propel a good hack, like:

Every barrier can be penetrated: the trickier the barrier, the more interesting the challenge.

Compasses over maps: there isn’t a roadmap, so navigate with curiosity and adaptability.

Nothing is static: applied learning is the only constant.

Quantity is a force multiplier: many small attacks/ideas often beat one big attack/idea.

Competence is the only credential that matters: ideas are judged by merit, not their source.

So, tapping into your inner hacker, what challenges, limitations or opportunities could you unlock by leveraging mindsets like these?

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