Once a year we invite our entire company to set aside daily tasks and focus purely on innovation for our annual hackathon. Frankly, innovation is a 24/7/365 job, but sometimes it’s a good idea to simply let our best and brightest people get out of the aggressive product roadmap for a moment and let them think outside the box.
This is an awesome opportunity for our teams to focus on one of their own projects as a way to improve something—whether that’s an enhancement to an existing product or feature, a new tool to upgrade our processes, or literally anything that can be a valuable addition to our company.
“At Skai we believe in innovation!” says Doron Hoffman, Senior Director of R&D. “We believe that innovation and valuable product ideas can come from all employees and not only from managers or product managers and this is the reason we have this wonderful tradition.”
The brainstorming starts in the months and weeks leading up to the event. Then the team building happens as people recruit the people/skills they need to realize their vision. The rules are simple. Once the clock starts, teams have 24 hours to ideate, build a demo, and record a 3-minute presentation of their idea.
A frame from one of our hackathon presentations
We generally offer a theme or two that we think will help make the hackathon projects productive in specific directions, and this year, we urged the teams to think about things such as data insights. We also had a special theme this year related to our recent acquisition of Signals Analytics, a pioneer in AI-powered analytics for market intelligence. Teams who reached across the aisle and recruited mixed teams of Skai and Signals Analytics personnel were given a few extra bonus points in the final voting.
Hackathon judging is completely democratic with every employee of Skai getting a vote. The hackathon recorded presentations are available for the entire company to view them all and then vote for their favorite. Based on the votes, one winning team is selected from each of our key themes. The winning teams get Amazon gift cards but also bragging rights for an entire year until the next hackathon.
Over the years, the hackathon has been fruitful for the company. In last year’s contest, 30 demos were produced, and 5 were productized into our platforms. So, not only is the hackathon a great way to blow off steam and for the teams to get to know each other and work with people they normally wouldn’t work with, but it also has long-term benefits to our technology.
“One of the core values of Skai is Innovation,” says John Dobrowolski, GM Social & Apps. “Our annual hackathon is a great way for the entire company to get involved and bring their own innovative ideas to the table. I’m looking forward to seeing which of the projects coming out of this year’s event will make it into the product.”
Come and check out 15+ years of innovation
Skai’s annual hackathon is just one of ways that innovation runs through our veins.
As an enterprise marketing tech vendor across Paid Search, Social Advertising, Retail Media, and App Marketing, Skai’s suite of platforms helps marketers save time, reduce errors, and drive ROI.
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