July 18th, 2019

Hacking for innovation with Exellys

Organizing a Smart Hackathon

Leap Forward was asked to organise an exciting innovation hackathon for Exellys, recruitment and talent integrators with a focus on technology. As part of the two year Smart Program, a training and coaching program which aims to bring their graduates to a tech professional level, the participants were given the opportunity to put their gathered knowledge to the test. Teams competed against each other for two consecutive days, tackling innovative challenges full of fun and learnings!

The workforce of the future

HackSmart is a new initiative and will take place every year within the company. As for Exellys, experts in technology, it's very important to stay ahead of future trends. Technology is evolving more rapidly than ever, disrupting industries at an acceleration rate and completely changing our day-to-day lives. The young employees at Exellys are eager to embrace this revolution, start to grow with it and let it empower them to become fully enabled in the Workforce of the Future!

The hackathon consisted of 4 differentiating challenges, taking into account the latest trends in business and technology:

    1. How might we shape the workforce of the future to fully unlock human talent (e.g. assisted AI in decision making, robotics for labor, AR in data-analytics,…)
    2. How might we improve the physical and digital workspace of today by leveraging technology? (e.g. smart spaces, VR collaboration, real-time translating, mood-dependent spaces,…)
    3. How might we transform learning / training on the workflow into a more personalised experience? (e.g. AI assisted adaptive learning, immersive learning, realistic simulators,…)
    4. How might employers offer a personalised experience to elevate employee happiness? (e.g. tracking/monitoring with IoT wearables and personalised tips, gamification of work,…)

HackSmart from preparation to execution

From preparation (communication, exercises, ...) to assisting the teams, Leap Forward was responsible for the whole organisation and support during the two-day hackathon.

Ten teams collaborated two fully dedicated days on their chosen challenge. The first day their aim was to dive deeper into this challenge, define and scope the problems they would tackle and map their customer segments through personas. In the afternoon they would use various creative ideation techniques in order to come up with innovative and out-of-the-box solutions.

During the second and final day they would translate these ideas into viable concepts, business models and prototypes which they would have to present in their final pitch. Our team of designers and storytellers helped the teams with the visual design of the chosen theme and challenges. Prices were awarded to the best pitch, most creative idea and overall best solution. The latter was OptimAil, an AI email tool which optimizes the emails through AI with small summaries and which takes recipient preferences into account when composing e-mails.

How to organise your own in-company hackathon

I end this article with a number of pointers for those who want to organise their own hackathon.

Provide the neccessary experts: Working in a team with a diversified skill-set requires that we had expertise in every necessary field: business design, tech-savviness, service design, visual design and digital prototyping.

Good communication makes a good collaboration: Great collaboration and communication with a pleasant to work with client and their coaches will elevate the quality of the outcome and proved co-creation always leads to better results.

Feedback and iteration is key: Feedback and iteration is key when developing concepts. Therefore, we introduced in-between pitching to the different teams on day 1 in order for them to detect flaws early and iterate on their concepts.

Everybody can prototype: You don’t have to be a programmer to win a hackathon. The winners of this year’s challenge prototyped their concepts without using a single line of code, and proved that rapid prototyping and visualising your idea can completely convince a jury.

Here below you can experience the highlights of the HackSmart hackathon in the aftermovie, provided by Exellys.

And if you have your own plans to organise an intensive hackathon in your company to boost the skillset of your team, don't hesitate to contact me.

Author image

Cédric Kamp

Service Designer

Cédric is passionate about innovation and likes solving business problems in a creative way. He likes to bring customer experience to a higher level.