Ortec Finance Hackathon 2017: a day of collaboration and innovation!

Tech Labs organized a new hackathon this year on June 9 in Rotterdam and followed the trend that Hackathons are no longer just for coders.

Class of 2017

Where last year’s Hackathon was mostly a Products and Operations endeavor, the 2017 edition is open to everyone in the organization. This provides a better opportunity to work on innovative projects that are directly related to our clients. Next to that, there was also budget available for hardware gadgets that teams wanted to use in their project. It turned out to be a great event with over 50 people participating in 13 teams.

The idea pitch

Prior to the hackathon people could pitch their idea at our monthly Tech Tuesday mini conference. It was nice to see the many vastly different ideas ranging from product improvements to prototyping entirely new concepts. In total there were 31 ideas pitched and 13 teams were formed. The teams consisted of a truly diverse mix of people with different backgrounds and expertise.

The big day!

We started the day with a motivational speech of our CTO Milan Seijbel who urged everybody to really think outside of the box and take matters into their own hands. After that the teams quickly settled into their working spaces and started designing, discussing, prototyping, and programming their ideas. Let’s go!

The result pitch

The following Tuesday, each team got the opportunity to present their results to the entire group and a jury. This was a high-paced event where each demonstration was capped to four minutes.

It is only fair to say that the jury’s expectations were exceeded by both the ideas teams came up with and what they had achieved in about a day.

The winners

After a few days of deliberating the jury presented the winner to the group on Friday.

The winning team used text mining to improve the accuracy of Ortec Finance’s valuation models. The jury praised this team’s strong team-work, the use of visuals to keep track of their progress, and the use of new techniques to unlock information already available to benefit our solutions. This team was awarded additional time and or funds to either fine tune their idea or follow a training to get further inspiration for widening the scope of their idea.

Apart from the winners, it’s great to see that many of the other ideas that were prototyped and developed during the hackathon are already being integrated into production code. This really proves the immense value a day such as this has! It’s not only a fun day, but it also results in new valuable and usable ideas and prototypes. On top of this a hackathon can bring people from all corners of an organization together to collaborate and exchange ideas and techniques, resulting in new insights; something that would not be likely to happen during normal workdays.

All in all we can say this year’s hackathon was a great success and we will certainly organize a new hackathon next year!

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