Hackathons, Where Ideas Become Reality
If you are new to the IT environment, or have not experienced a hackathon first hand, you undoubtedly will at some point in the near future. Hackathons are becoming a standard periodic practice, especially in the IT industry, where organizations dedicate a block of long hours to collaborative innovation and task tackling. The length of a hackathon can vary from a standard work day, to a 2-day brain buster extravaganza. The purpose of a hackathon is to not only commit an extended period of time to the completion of a project, but also spark new ideas and processes that perhaps were untapped during the monotony of a normal work day.
Forming an innovative culture starts with internal collaboration, experimentation and a willingness to push the limits. Hackathons do just that. Click To Tweet
The Teams and Tasks at Hand
Roughly 70% of our on-site staff participated in this quarters Hackathon, with additional off-site staff joining in as well. This aligned with the participation in the previous Smartbridge hackathon, which had nearly an 80% turnout. The members of each team were selected to provide key expertise and resources to aid in the progress of the projects. This included representatives from the following practices:
- Business Intelligence and Analytics
- Enterprise Systems
- Digital Innovations
- Marketing & Administration
Going into the hackathon, each of the four teams prepared, planned, and structured their resources to best allocate their time. The common goal shared among each participating group was to complete, or at least gain steady momentum on the project they chose to tackle. Some of these projects had been in the works for months, making the hackathon the final push necessary before near completion or launch. Whether this involved data warehouse building, machine learning, or even direct client collaboration, each team worked diligently to accomplish the task at hand.
One of the unique identifiers of this hackathon was the dynamic and flexible nature of collaboration among the practices. Though each practice and team had a unique project to deliver, team members with specific expertise aided in the inter-workings of different groups. One of which was the interactive Tableau storyboard project, which served as a marketing and recruitment initiative. Data collected from a recent organization-wide survey served to provide a story of the culture and characteristics present at Smartbridge. This would provide aspiring employees access to various avenues of interactive information, from nearby restaurants, driving distances and even temperature variations in Houston.
Multiple members in the Business Intelligence & Analytics group shared their expertise with Tableau, turning a concept into a detailed and entertaining reality. Within the final hours of the hackathons conclusion, the coined “Ferrari of dashboards” was formed and fully interactive.
The participating groups in each practice gained an enormous amount of headway within their specific projects. Multiple participating team members stepped outside the comfort zone of their current expertise, sparking personal development with project fulfillment. Since the conclusion of the hackathon, projects have already begun to move into the final stages of completion.
Through our collective focus to innovate, lead and exceed expectations, our team is able to continuously succeed together in every area of our practice.