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Notes from an internal company hack day

By Amy, Eastpoint Software on 13 June 2019

We hosted our own Eastpoint IoT hack day and the result was three excellent pitches for health, automotive and environmental products. Varied, but all aimed at providing data with a purpose. 

This was the first time I have hosted a hack (I have attended several) and I found it useful to read about other company hacks in preparation, so here is a review of how ours went. 

Our hack day wasn’t necessarily aimed at producing a product and did not involve hardware, instead we were looking for collaboration and problem solving within the team. Some of our team hadn’t participated in a hack before so we wanted to provide something that catered to everyone. With that in mind, this was a one-day hack with pitches at the end, judged by Eastpoint founder John Puddifoot. 

The theme of IoT is wide so teams were given judging criteria prior to the hack. Due to some absence on the day the group decided to re-jig the teams via a tense hat draw.  

We began the day with a continental breakfast, followed by a mindfulness video aimed at getting the teams ready to shake off any distractions and get creative. 

As we’re based in the Bradfield Centre in Cambridge, we made use of the auditorium for the hack, which is a good size and great for presentations. For future hacks we may consider off-siting the hack to create a more event-y feel away from the office. 

After lunch and a pick me up exercise it was back to hacking, and by now everyone had a firm pitch in mind. Later in the afternoon (after snacks) I listened to rehearsal pitches to make sure the presentations fitted into the two and a half minutes, and to offer a fresh pair of eyes on possible unsolved challenges or missed judging criteria.  

The presentations were all excellent, delivered via power point on the auditorium big screens. A q and a session followed and then John P made his decision from the three pitches. He chose from: 

Team Fiery Llama – 5G x health app 

Team Wee Jobby – Internet of Toilets for the environment 

Team Benesh – IoT x car insurance product 

The scores were all really close, but Wee Jobby (from the minds of Dan, Oli and Jon W) edged it and each won vouchers for a shop of their choice. 

After the hack I sent out a short, anonymous survey to gauge responses and the desire for another hack was unanimous.