Cognifide Hackathon: Solving Real Business Problems

18 December 2015
Mateusz Chrominski
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Innovation is at the heart of everything we do at Cognifide.  So it was no great surprise to find our Poznan office still buzzing into the small hours last week as a pizza-fuelled hackathon threatened to back-end into our Christmas party.

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In fact, Hackathons are fairly common place at Cognifide.  They help us to stay at the forefront of the industry with our own technology and ensure that our clients continue to benefit from the creative output of some of the best brains in the business.  Last week, the hackathon focused on our leading-edge site production accelerator, Zen Garden, which powers over 400 web sites across the world.

It’s a Dragons Den approach in which Developers go head-to-head for a 7 hour stint with 5 minutes to sell their discovery at the other end. And with 25 other competitors rather than 5 Dragons to please, it’s not for the fainthearted.

But our teams are made of strong stuff and some fantastic ideas surfaced on the night.  Without giving too much away, here are some of the highlights.

  • There was a lot of talk of Atomic Design and how that looks set to take centre stage in 2016
  • Since author enablement is such a hot topic, content approval workflows were another area of exploration
  • We looked at faster and easier content migration, allowing us to crawl any site and recreate it in Zen Garden
  • Always trying to make life easier for agencies and designers, we also explored how far we could free up creativity within a framework

We had 2 outright winners who were quite rightly awarded with kegs of beer but these events are really about the team. With cross-discipline teams including Business Analysts, Consultants, QA and Developers, the focus is as much on solving real business problems as it is on the software.

Around 30-50% of the ideas generated will make it into the product with no extra redesigning beyond the night itself and some of these look likely to become key selling-points. In fact, core Zen Garden product features such as the non-Zen Garden components support feature, platform statistics and grid generator were developed during nights just like this in the past.

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So, thanks, team for a fantastically creative and industrious night.  And don’t worry, there’ll be no write up on the antics of the following evening. Your Christmas party secrets are safe!