HackWeek @ XING
Ever dreamed of being an inventor? Fulfil your dream at XING!
Here at XING we want to give employees the freedom to develop ideas without any limitations and explore new territories and technologies. That’s why we established a quarterly HackWeek where developers, product managers and UX put aside their regular work for five days so they can channel their skills into a number of special creative projects.
HackWeek at XING involves multiple departments and locations — everyone in the tech teams can develop an idea and connect with other people who might want to join the project.
Some of the results from former HackWeeks involve existing products, while others are only used internally and some are just ideas that were tinkered with. To date, previous HackWeeks have given birth to XING Projects, two-factor authentication and Get-a-room: a helpful internal room-booking system.
HackWeek also involves a lot of fun with hardware: The XING Arcade, powered by a Raspberry Pi 2 with classic console/arcade games and controls, was built during a previous HackWeek.
The sky’s the limit! Some of our hackers, who were already into FPV drones, were able to design and print their own drone frame with our 3D printer and then fit motors, controllers, batteries and even a camera into it. And yes, it also passed its maiden flight with flying colours.
A couple of weeks prior to each HackWeek, everyone has an opportunity to voice their idea in an internal online tool where colleagues can sign up to the projects they want to take part in.
Each HackWeek starts with a kick-off session on the Monday morning. Attendees can enjoy some breakfast and meet fellow hackers while getting familiar with the agenda for the week. At the project trade fair, project initiators can present themselves and ‘recruit’ colleagues who haven’t decided which project they’d like to get involved in. Once the teams have been formed, they can find some space and start developing, with snacks and drinks on hand to give them the necessary stamina and sustenance.
After a week full of coding, exploring and learning together, Friday is the ‘big day’ where all of the hackers come together and watch the project presentations in a relaxed atmosphere with food, drinks and good music. Every office is connected via video conference and each team has five minutes to pitch their project, present their results, and share their experiences. What did we learn during the week? What went well? What didn’t work out? Once the pitch session is done, it’s time to lean back, grab a beer and share some ideas and learnings with fellow colleagues.
Not a developer? Get creative during the XING Prototyping Days!
You don’t have to be a developer to enjoy the freedom of developing your ideas away from your daily work. Once a year every employee has the opportunity to take part in the Prototyping Days event and work on a project with other people from various parts of the company. As is the case with HackWeek, it’s also a great opportunity to think outside the box and work with colleagues from different departments and offices. The ‘reward’ for all this hard work is the big XING summer party with food, drinks and music.
Check out the video from the 2015 Prototyping Days event below to gain an impression of what goes on.