Business Impact

Driving AI innovation with internal hackathons [Webinar]

Learn how to build your AI strategy with hackathons.

The need for company-wide innovation is higher than it’s ever been. AI has ushered in a new era of possibilities—presenting both exciting opportunities and complex challenges for companies striving to stay relevant. Are you ready to seize the future, or risk being left in the dust?

Devpost CEO, Brandon Kessler, was joined by innovation experts from Okta, Estée Lauder, and SAP to discuss how their organizations are leveraging hackathons to help drive AI innovation.

Meet the speakers:

  • Neta Retter, Director, Innovation Programs at Okta
  • Christopher Aidan, VP, Innovation & Emerging Technologies at Estée Lauder Companies
  • Nico Wyss, Solutions Advisor at SAP

Questions answered in the webinar:

  • What is the business justification for why your company runs hackathons? 
  • Can you share any business goals that are addressed by hackathons in your specific business?
  • What are you witnessing at your organization concerning AI?
  • How important is team building to your hackathons and how do you facilitate it?
  • How do you protect confidential data in AI hackathons?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve had in running a hackathon and how have you overcome them?
  • What are your tips on setting prizes?
  • When choosing a hackathon topic, is it better to focus on a specific issue to solve with AI or keep it open-ended?

What is the business justification for why your company runs hackathons?

Chris: “It’s an opportunity for people to come up with new and fresh ideas and to collaborate. They’re put in a situation of thinking differently from their day-to-day grind. It always creates these unique situations because everyone has their body of knowledge, but when you start crossing the different organizational lines, you see that there’s a lot more commonality and a lot more opportunity when ideas come together.”

Neta: “Hackathons provide this opportunity to unleash creativity and have a lot of fun. You see folks learn new skills, they collaborate and make connections with people who they may not typically work with, and they learn role empathy.

In addition to the fact that some of these ideas actually end up on the roadmap and shipping, so it’s this opportunity to democratize what you build, how you build it, and make sure that even as a company scales, people have the opportunity to have a voice.”

Editor’s note: Nico’s team at SAP runs customer hackathons, whereas Chris and Neta are referencing internal hackathons. Customer hackathons also inspire creativity, but Nico shared how they help SAP provide additional value to its customers.

Nico: “SAP is a process-driven software enterprise that sells out-of-the-box final solutions. But sometimes there might be a situation that arises where you do not have the specification or specific extension on this product that you need. And sometimes the solution to this problem is something that you might tackle in your daily work or not big enough that it will end up on your roadmap. So what do you do? These hackathons are the place where you can find the time and work with SAP’s experts to develop these specific solutions.”

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