Hackathons Are Key to Innovation

Innovation. It’s a topic often talked about in the high-tech world – and with good reason. Innovation is crucial to distinguishing the industry leaders from the followers. As a company always looking to bring better solutions to our customers, fostering innovation is key to creating better technologies.

With events like Rails Rumble and Tech Crunch Disrupt, the hackathon has become a very popular way for eager entrepreneurs and software developers to gather and create the “next big thing.” Yet, hackathons aren’t just for the startup crowd. In fact, many companies are using hackathons as a way to break through organizational inertia and instill a more innovation-driven culture.

In December, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure held the first round of its global hackathon event. The goal was to give our smart people a chance to explore and work on ideas that they might not get a chance to focus on in their day-to-day jobs. We wanted them to collaborate and innovate with peers in other disciplines and in other parts of the world. And the results from the first round were nothing short of amazing.   

The big technology themes from this event centered on wearables, augmented reality, pattern recognition, and data analytics. All of which have real-world applicability in our products and markets. We also had a number of entries that we could implement right now to improve our development processes, product reliability, and operations.

That’s the great thing about giving people the time and freedom to explore their ideas and creatively solve problems. While some teams created new products or enhancements to products, others created new ways for us to be a more efficient organization. That is a win for our customers and a win for our company.  Overall, our hackathon entries were diverse and very high quality. It is always fascinating to see the different and innovative approaches used to solve very similar problems.

In April, we will host another hackathon, which will be the main event. Teams that participated in the first round have the chance to refine their ideas and execute on the solutions they’ve presented. From the main event in April, we will select one winner from each region (Americas, APAC, EMEA, Product Center, and HCCI), and their projects will battle it out at HxGN LIVE in June for the inaugural Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure Global Hackathon trophy.

In the months ahead, we’ll continue to talk about innovation and our Global Hackathon at HxGN LIVE. So, stay tuned.

Dan Retzer
About Dan Retzer

Dan Retzer serves as Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure’s senior vice president of global product development.