Bringing Hackathon to the Small Screen
Infotech’s Innovation in Action: Bringing Hackathon to the Small Screen
Of Infotech’s three pillars - Integrity, Insights and Innovation - the latter has been the word of the year. For a company that operates as a family and revolves around its people, being distant from each other for so long has been tough. How do we keep our culture of connection and our spirit of forward thinking alive in a world that changed almost overnight?
A better question, in our opinion: how do we not?
Infotech went fully remote in March 2020 and all of our company-wide events had to change. Some were postponed, some were canceled for the year, but there’s one event that was simply waiting to thrive in this virtual world:our annual Infotech Hackathon, where innovation is the name of the game and the prime directive is to create new and better solutions.
Unprecedented times brought forth exactly the kind of problems that need to be solved.
A typical Infotech Hackathon takes place over three days (not including the general hype energy leading up to the event) and features dozens of Infotechers clustered as teams into various conference rooms, vying for the chance to win by improving an existing product, prototyping a new product or service, or devising new ways to streamline a process.
There are meals provided for all participants, snack and coffee breaks, laughter, coding, and an elaborate theme woven through the entire event, all culminating in the final presentation day where there can only be one winning team.
Once Upon a Time at Hackathon
This year, we decided to play on our virtual environment and went with a theme that allowed for lots of video content - Hollywood . Our team captains became directors, our participants their production crews. We changed the format for presenting their final products and asked for them to send us short films instead of doing a live demo, even if they had never touched video editing software before. We gave them more to do, less time to do it, and only their own innovation as a guide.
And then something incredible happened.
Somewhere between the all-day Zoom calls and the late-night video editing, the teams began to form bonds; the exact same kind of bonds we have seen in years past, when they were working together shut in a conference room for eight hours at a time, hacking away at their final product.
Suddenly, people who had never spoken to each other previously now had inside jokes and nicknames. Both new hires and long-term employees were saying they had never enjoyed their job this much.
The final presentations heralded westerns, silent films, comedies, film noir, news reports, fantasy and more. We had teams assemble around solutions for engagement, time-saving, time-reporting, cost-reduction, Zoom integrations, and even an Infotech theme song.
We had 15 teams, more participants than ever, three top ideas and one winner. And, even more importantly, we had fun. In just a few short days, something Infotech has been missing for months was back. Emphatically so, even.
At Infotech, our annual Hackathon offers more than just a chance to break away from the typical tasks of our workdays to create something different. It’s a permanent staple of our culture that has always allowed Infotechers who would normally never have the chance to work together to collaborate and engage and to unite in their quest toward a shared goal.
Every year looks different and brings forth new levels of innovation, but that’s not what it’s really about; above all, Hackathon is about our culture of connection. And this year it reminded us that even though we can’t see them in person, all of our coworkers are still there, being funny and friendly and forward-thinking in so many ways.
And, while we miss each other, we don’t need to be in an office to be Infotech. We never have.
If you would like to learn more about Infotech’s culture or if you are interested in being a part of our future hackathons, why not consider joining the family? Apply today at infotechinc.com/careers.
Written by Darcy Herlihy, Communications Specialist at Infotech