What Industry Leaders Can Learn From Roblox

The Roblox IPO was the first direct listing of 2021 and saw the company value soar to ~$40BN. What can other industry leaders learn from this nimble disruptor? For starters, the Roblox Hack Week Tradition is a fantastic example of embracing disruption.

Every year, for one full week, Roblox employees take a break from their day-to-day work and pursue out-of-the-box ideas they’re passionate about. The 8th iteration of their Hack Week happened last week and resulted in 86 new projects for the company. Over the years, it has delivered tech breakthroughs for Roblox, but more so, it reaffirms their values, builds their culture, and functions as an amazing recruiting/retention vehicle.  According to Roblox's Blog:

“As Roblox continues to rapidly evolve, there’s never enough time in the day to pursue all the projects we’re passionate about. That’s why Hack Week exists: to give our employees the time, support, and resources to experiment with ideas that are truly innovative and unique for the betterment of our platform and community."

For those of you who don’t know what Roblox is, it’s an online gaming platform, with the company's eponymous "Roblox" game being the biggest mobile game of 2020 in the U.S. in terms of revenue (surpassing "Candy Crush."). Roblox reported 32.6 million daily active users at the end of 2020, up 85% from the previous year. Revenue jumped 82% to $924 million. What makes Roblox different from other online game platforms is that it lets users create their own games on the platform with developers receiving 30% of the proceeds generated from a game, virtual outfits and avatars. In many ways, Roblox has kickstarted the direct-to-avatar fashion trend. Read more about their hack week tradition here.

As you grow, there is never enough time to pursue opportunities outside of maintaining the core business’ success. The mothership requires and has earned all attention and resources. But you must continue to embrace and encourage disruption or you will be disrupted. For many legacy companies, shutting down operations for a week is unrealistic, but the spirit of this hack week can also be accomplished in other ways. Particularly, by embracing external innovation. By welcoming outside startups and external developers, and creating a safe place for collaboration, you create a similar outcome.

By working with startups where risk and action are in their DNA, your teams learn a bias for action. The resolve to take calculated risks can feel difficult within large companies. By embracing an external innovation program, legacy companies can create collaboration between the leadership running the business and the innovators pursuing niche opportunities. Your teams will be inspired to look beyond their current scope of work, without taking their eyes off their immediate deliverables.

To learn more about how to build an external innovation practice, contact


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