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The inaugural OVO Hackathon

By Mark Lee Monday 24 November 2014

Recently a group of OVO staff took time out of their busy schedules to take part in our first ever hackathon.

What’s a hackathon you ask? Well...

A hack is a project that aims to complete something in as quick a time as possible - you might have seen the life hacks we’ve been running on our social feeds, simplifying everything from eating strawberries to cutting cake. A hackathon is an intense version of this: an event where a team works through the night to “complete” a project in the space of 24 hours - often something that ordinarily would take weeks or months to finish. The final product might not be perfect, but the aim is that by the end of the hackathon a brand new idea will have been taken from drawing board to a prototype will be made that is ready for demo. 

Traditionally hackathons were events for software programmers and designers that were made popular by major silicon valley firms like Facebook and LinkedIn. The concept has since been extended to include non-technical creative projects as well.

Our OVO hackathon started at 10am on a Friday, upon which the dedicated teams of technical and non-technical staff alike were locked away to come up with their ideas. We provided them with much needed fuel - pizza, Red Bull, Coca-Cola, snacks and beer - to help them get through the night as their ideas were transformed from thought to reality, until they emerged, bleary eyed, at 10am on Saturday. After some much needed rest over the weekend, they then presented their creations to a very impressed office on Monday. 

Why did we do it?

We’re still young, which means we’re constantly trying to evolve to be the best company we can be. The only way we’re going to do this is by giving our creative and talented employees the freedom to express themselves: to improvise and innovate and be given the chance to create something interesting outside of the parameters of the usual nine to five. Some of the projects that are developed during these hackathons might go on to help us run our business better. Others will simply help make it a more fun place to be. 

Whatever they create, however, is almost beside the point. What the first hackathon did best was to give our staff a chance to collaborate with colleagues they don’t usually work with, bringing everybody in OVO a little closer together and providing them with a chance to learn from each other by using new skills in an exciting environment. 

All in all our first hackathon was a great success. Much fun was had, much pizza was scoffed and the projects created will be used internally to improve the way we do things. 

We can’t wait to host the next one - and to see the wonderful ideas that come to fruition. 

If you think you’d enjoy working on an event like the hackathon and would thrive in a collaborative and innovative environment, why not check out the OVO Careers page?