See why Healthcare Bluebook uses Devpost for Teams to power its internal hackathons.
Hackathons are key to fostering a culture of innovation at Healthcare Bluebook, an online price comparison tool for healthcare services. For the last two and a half years, the company has run quarterly internal hackathons as a way to enable creativity and innovation.
Before using Devpost for Teams (DFT) to power its internal hackathons, the company used a variety of tools that made managing events time-consuming and difficult for organizers. David Green, VP of Cloud Operations at Healthcare Bluebook, spoke to Devpost about using DFT and how the platform simplified hackathon management.
Here’s a look at how David and his team use DFT to drive innovation, save time, and measure hackathon results.
Healthcare Bluebook is an industry leader in delivering clear and actionable healthcare quality and cost information. It helps people find quality healthcare providers, providing price transparency and offering savings through comparison shopping.
As a company, it promotes a culture of innovation.
“At Healthcare Bluebook, we emphasize everyone being an innovator and having the capacity to follow the innovative spirit,” said David Green, VP of Cloud Operations at Healthcare Bluebook.
With innovation being a key focus for Healthcare Bluebook, the company has conducted quarterly internal hackathons for the last two years.
Before using DFT, the Healthcare Bluebook team used many different tools to plan and manage its internal hackathons. From Wikis, spreadsheets, and Microsoft Teams, each component of the event was facilitated by a different tool. The team needed a solution that would consolidate all the different tools to help them save time on planning and managing events.
This also posed a challenge for the team when it came to cataloging projects from previous competitions. It was difficult for organizers and participants to find past projects, which made it challenging for participants to continue working on the projects in future events. Since organizers had projects saved across many different tools, they also couldn’t easily quantify the results from the hackathons, or showcase the most implementable project submissions.
The cumbersome approach to managing hackathons also impeded project quality since participants had to spend more time navigating all the different tools instead of actually building their projects. The stitched-together tooling was missing a level of polish that didn’t adequately show the value of the event and deterred others from participating.
Finally, since the tools Healthcare Bluebook used before DFT weren’t intended for managing hackathons, they ended up creating a lot more work for organizers. For example, the tools didn’t enforce submission requirements, like including a project summary, so organizers ended up doing this manual work.
Healthcare Bluebook made the switch to DFT, making things a lot easier for hackathon managers and participants. Here are the results the team highlighted since using DFT:
Healthcare Bluebook has seen a notable difference in hackathon project submission quality since using DFT. David and his team found that the project structure within DFT helped participants clearly describe their ideas and focus on the most important information.
“People were very enthusiastic to work with [DFT],” said David. “But the high quality of the submissions really blew me away as well.”
Specifically, David shared that there were 12 projects that started to populate at the beginning of the hackathon. Despite being initially unsure of whether most of the projects would be viable, the opposite ended up being true.
“All of these items, I would be happy to show to an executive,” he said. “This emphasis on the simplicity of the write-up with the submission of the assets—and as a result, you can scan through the projects to see what really matters.”
“All of the projects were like that,” said David. “We want people who are intrinsically motivated [to participate], so if you combine that with the high-quality tooling, I think magic happens.”
Ultimately, David said that over 50% of the project submissions had immediate production capacity.
“It blew me away and it blew our executives away.”
According to David, a lot of Healthcare Bluebook’s hackathon participants like to iterate and improve on their project submissions over multiple events. “We have had ideas that have a Part Two or Part Three, that span multiple events.”
The DFT project gallery catalogs previously submitted projects, so it’s easy for organizers and participants to find them after the competitions have ended. This has been helpful to Healthcare Bluebook for two main reasons.
First, David noted that participants can continue working on their projects after the hackathon is over since they’ve always got easy access to all the relevant information. This helps keep the momentum going after the event so the submitted projects can turn into viable product enhancements.
“The projects are so easily accessible and you can navigate directly to the summary page,” said David. “Then you can dive into the assets that were submitted with the project so that the lifespan of these concepts doesn't die at the end of the event and they are still accessible. That is a huge improvement from what we've had in the past.”
Another benefit of the project gallery for Healthcare Bluebook is that it makes it easier to show the value of hackathons through a growing catalog of implementable ideas.
“The cataloging piece is really helpful,” said David. “From a business perspective, if we didn't have that, it would be hard to keep the momentum going.”
“Now that we have the ability to keep those records on a running basis, I'm really enthusiastic about innovation at scale where you can showcase this catalog of innovative concepts,” said David. “Whether you're looking to document who the innovation champions are, the projects that they've worked on, or be able to step back and do things at the business strategy level to bring projects into the product development cycle.”
Unlike the many tools the Healthcare Bluebook team previously used to host its events, DFT is built for running internal hackathons. David noted that using a platform tailored to their needs improved the participant experience and was more inspiring to participants.
"It is enterprise-grade tooling for innovation and that matters a lot for the organizers of the event,” said David. “It's clear on the outside when you look at the participant experience of using Devpost for Teams that this is purpose-built tooling.”
David also compared how participants react to using a dedicated hackathon platform to using a combination of different tools.
“When [participants] see that there's an interface that's purpose-built, they can easily interact with it to be inspired,” he said. “That’s the thing—you don’t get inspiration when you’re looking at a Wiki, plus an Excel sheet, plus a loop document. It just looks like a mess when you’re bundling all these tools together that are not purpose-built.”
Devpost has been a leading platform for public hackathons since 2009. For David and the Healthcare Bluebook team, there was peace of mind in knowing that the DFT platform was built for internal hackathons by a team of hackathon experts.
"I am a 10-year veteran of using Devpost,” said David. “I've done hackathons all over the U.S. that have utilized Devpost. I view it to be the standard—the high water mark—of that tooling.”
“When I heard that this tooling had the corporate internal innovation face, that really excited me. It has tons of legitimacy and it fills a gap that we had with other tooling. We have all the Microsoft Office tools, but none of them really do this. And I was not intrigued by any other tooling. The simplicity of what Devpost for Teams offers is really purpose-built. It's been well designed.”
DFT is an easy-to-use, intuitive hackathon platform that encourages team members from all departments to participate. The Healthcare Bluebook team found that DFT’s features made internal hackathons accessible to non-developer team members.
“I’m happy that we got a couple of new participants this round from other departments, like an analyst,” said David. “[DFT] helps to bring all those parties together in a platform that doesn’t turn off the tech folks or the ‘tech-lite’ folks.”
David also highlighted how using an enterprise-grade tool like DFT gives hackathons an additional feeling of polish and legitimacy that was difficult to achieve when using multiple tools.
“That polish takes people over the hurdle,” he said. “It helps to put a face on the event that captures the innovative spirit that we’re going for and supports the corporate culture of innovation that we are crafting.”
One of Healthcare Bluebook’s main goals with its internal hackathons is to foster a culture of innovation. David and his team have achieved this by hosting quarterly competitions over the last two and a half years.
“If you want to emphasize this culture of innovation, you want people to be coming around and doing these kinds of events over time,” said David. “It really showcases our investment in a culture of innovation and it gives the innovation champions within the company the tools that they need to get that work done.”
“[Using DFT] has kept the enthusiasm high for this type of work,” he continued. “People have to be enthusiastic and intrinsically motivated to come and participate and do something cool. It’s essential that you have the right touch, the right tool, and the right framing—this just fits. It really is the best tool for the job to get that vibe out to the participants.”
Empower your team to solve real business problems by following the innovative spirit. Get a free demo of Devpost for Teams (DFT) to see how.