This week, the software coders at Buzzfeed's office in Minneapolis put aside their projects to do something different.

In a tech company perk-if-not-quite-tradition called a "hack week," the media company gave all its developers time to work on their own ideas, aiming for something that might eventually become a product or service. (Buzzfeed also has software engineers in New York, Los Angeles and Ukraine.)

"Buzzfeed encourages them to be focused on something that will help or benefit the company," said Phil Wilson, the chief of the Minneapolis office. "But there aren’t a lot of limits that we place on that."

The software engineers in Minneapolis -- who chiefly work on the company's mobile apps -- worked in teams on a half-dozen projects for Wilson and other company leaders to evaluate.

Companies use hack weeks to let developers stretch their fingers and minds and push ideas upward instead of always concentrating on projects that come down from above. The time limit allows them to see an outcome quickly.

Buzzfeed, which is based in New York, acquired Minneapolis-based HyperIQ in late 2014 and opened a new office in the northeast arts district last spring. The office has grown from 12 to 30 developers since then.

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