Leveraging Datacom’s hackathon pedigree

HackAssist is about applying the lessons, templates and know-how that Datacom has garnered over the past five years to execute hackahons for our customer’s teams

Datacomp started in 2012 as a bunch of talented technologists crammed into a basement to spend their weekend competitively coding Metro Apps for Windows 8.

Datacomp has now grown to a massive 300 person event, challenging Datacom’s teams from across the world to use technology for the good of all society.

Since then, Datacom has used this pedigree in the New Zealand market to expand it globally, effectively developing a new proposition for customers – HackAssist.

#SaveOneMoreLife – a hackathon for the NZ Transport Agency

A recent HackAssist event for Foodstuffs

These events typically see the skills of our customers’ participants pushed to the limit over 48 hours of coding. Beyond the social and technical component, these hackathons help teams better engage their technical people, try out some left-field solutions in a (friendly!) competitive environment to produce solutions they didn’t even know they needed yet. It’s about helping reach the customers in a more effective manner, and the democratisation of ‘innovation’ and decision making across their businesses.

It’s also a lot of fun. As well as reinforcing Datacom’s position as a leader in the innovation ecosystem, HackAssist also helps us deepen and diversify our connections with our existing customers to help them uncover new sources of value.

These new offerings often slot in perfectly with existing change and innovation programmes, giving customers’ existing teams a great opportunity to allow the talent of the future to shine - developing their networking skills and technical skills, and most importantly, helping them develop a digital culture based around disruption and challenging old ideas.

Three of the key HackAssist events of the last year include the Genesis Energy Hackathon, which saw 120 team members look at how they can reimagine their approach to energy for customers. Already, Genesis is taking four of the ideas uncovered at this event to market, but the cultural change within the organisation is what truly makes the event a success. It saw strong support from the senior leadership and the board, and 12 per cent of the organisation’s entire workforce participated. This will now be a regular event that realigns Genesis’ culture, building cohesion amongst its software teams and ultimately boosting its digital capabilities.

The support from the executive leadership team speaks for itself.

“The hackathon team are funded and start work this week. Thank you again for incubating that – it’s proven to be a huge cultural catalyst and our people are still super-enthused.”

Jennifer Cherrington-Mowat, EGM, Technology and Digital, Genesis Energy

Datacom has also designed and facilitated similar events for Foodstuffs and ASB with the latter seeing 120 team members challenging the company to disrupt its own processes.

Datacom has also positioned itself as a wider Capability Developer for our customers. New propositions such as our ‘ThinkSmash’ advisory programme sees us facilitate ideation workshops between multiple customers or business units.

Datacom’s expert advisors work with multiple parties within an organisation in a strategic capability to assist them in producing actionable outcomes that work. Some recent examples include helping multiple government departments, or a consortium of private partners develop strategy around BlockChain implementation.

As well as being a fantastic opportunity to position Datacom as a thought leader in the innovation space amongst some of Australasia’s leading private and public sector organisations, it also reinforces Datacom in a strategic position of trust – a key company value.

All of these programmes are a direct response to customer need. When the world is changing so quickly, and digital transformation is now the normative state for our customers – they want someone to help them with the ‘what next?’, not the ‘what now?’.

Datacom is top-of-mind for an increasing number of customers looking for ways to navigate a changing technology-driven, business landscape. Datacom’s ‘hackathon pedigree’ is centred around one simple tenet: while innovation and transformation may be powered by technology, they are always engineered and implemented by truly exceptional people.