4mation’s Inaugural Hackathon: A Day of Learning and Innovation

Scott Morris

Scott Morris

Head of Team Augmentation

On Saturday, we hosted a Hackathon for all of our passionate team members at 4mation. Run by our Head of Learning, the day resulted in innovative and creative solutions to our own internal pain points, most of which will be rolled out in our office.

What is a hackathon?

A Hackathon is an event in which a number of people meet to engage in the collaborative development of solutions in an environment where they can be creative and stretch their skills and abilities to the limit.

A large portion of our developers, project managers, UX experts and test analysts were split up into teams to have a shot at building a solution which could be used to benefit our day to day working lives.

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Following the announcement of the topics, each team got straight into planning their projects. During this phase, some considerations they made were: What can we build in 7 hours?; Do we build something simple but polish it?; Or, do we push ourselves and make something really innovative?

Learning new technologies

To our delight, two of the teams jumped in the deep end and used technologies they had never worked with before. Our Head of Learning was called upon to give these teams a 20 minute crash course in using React.js, a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces. We were very impressed that both teams absorbed this knowledge with ease and were able to build their interfaces using the core concepts of this technology.

Our other teams focused on solving current issues in our workplace, creating a very detailed plan on what their solution would solve, and how they would go about implementing it.

Fueled by Subway, pizza and beer throughout the day, each team successfully hit their goals! We were blown away by the teams’ structured work, their ideas, and the level of detail they went into to solve the problems at hand.

Our winners

‘Team Colt’ won the award for teamwork, creating a working leaderboard which connects to Strava (a fitness app). The leaderboard shows which individuals and teams in our company are exercising the most, and displaying this information for all to see.

‘Team Gillian’s Angels’ took the awards for both the Best UX and Innovation & Creativity. Their simple interface, which displays what’s booked in each meeting room in real-time, was a standout on the day. Their solution will be implemented by installing tablets onto the outside of each of our meeting rooms, allowing anyone to see who is in there, how much longer they’re meeting will run, and even a ‘Quick Book’ option to allow ad-hoc booking of a room. What made their solution so successful? Their processes and planning. Much of their time was spent scoping out the meeting rooms to see where the tablets would be placed, making mockups, and simulating seeing the booking from across the room for readability. They covered all aspects to make a very impressive solution which was put together so well that it will require very little refinement for us to actually use.

A successful day

The day was a big success, with all team members having a great time and learning many new things along the way. At the end of the day, our Head of Learning was inundated with questions from the team asking, “When is the next Hackathon?”

Our team is looking forward to rolling these solutions out across our office, so the teams can see their handy work in practice!

Do you love to learn and collaborate with team members all whilst having fun? Do you want to be part of the next 4mation Hackathon? Check out our current opportunities now!

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