On Friday, Dec. 6, 2019, Stefanini’s Innovation Center burst into a flurry of activity. Multiple teams, ranging from a variety of technical backgrounds, paired off in order to collaborate together to co-create and work to program a drone to fly simply using voice commands. And with that, Stefanini’s first Innovation Hackathon was underway.
“Take today as an opportunity to learn,” said Spencer Gracias, CEO, North America/APAC at Stefanini US. “Be daring. Be bold. Be innovative. See where your creativity takes you while working together to meet this challenge.”
Get a taste of what Stefanini Hackathon was all about by watching the video below
Working with Drones
A hackathon is an event where programmers gather to collaborate on a software project. The idea for the event originated within Stefanini’s Innovation Center, with Renata Galle, VP for Innovation in Digital Business of North American APAC, and Danilo Armeida, AI & Cognitive Project Manager, taking the lead.
“I had the great pleasure in bringing the idea to have the Innovation Hackathon here and to connect our employees and our team with several technologies we’ve already been working with,” Renata said. “I would say that much more than connecting with the technologies is [giving] our employees a chance to develop themselves in new ways, new paths to get connected with new opportunities.”
The idea to center the Innovation Hackathon around the drone was due to the fact that the Center deals with this type of technology a lot, said Danilo. The Innovation Center has done some demos of the drone already and the small drone that was used for the Hackathon is a new addition, so it was only natural to choose that drone for the challenge.
Bringing Employees Together
Motivating employees to participate fell to DeAundray Armstrong Sr., Service Delivery Manager at Stefanini. However, he found that many employees were ready to step up to the challenge, noting the fact that the Hackathon gives participants the opportunity to do things they wouldn’t normally do on the day-to-day job, furthering the innovating spirit of the event.
Those who participated found that the Hackathon inspired teamwork, creativity, and afforded them the opportunity to learn new skills.
“At first, I didn’t want to do it,” admitted Anthony Wade-Auston, an LVMA Help Desk Level II agent. “I wasn’t too confident about it because I knew nothing about programming a drone to fly on voice command. I’m glad I did come. I learned that it was easier than I thought. I learned about HTTP, git commands and stuff like that, APIs. It was a fun experience.”
The event also allowed employees to work together who had never collaborated before, which allowed them to make connections with people they may have never talked to while giving them the chance to show off hidden skills. Most importantly, the Innovation Hackathon allowed employees to try their hand at a new skill: coding.
“I really hope that they find that passion about coding,” Danilo said. “Personally, coding is very important to me. It changed my life, gave me a whole career so I really hope for this new generation to come and learn and use it on the daily basis and maybe get some opportunities out of it.”
Throughout the afternoon, three teams each worked diligently on their separate approaches to programming the drone. At the end of the event, all the teams gave a demonstration to show off what they had learned. Each team was successful in programming their drones to take flight using voice commands, with one team even getting their drone to flip.
“This was a great experience,” said Steven Weng, a Level 1 Help Desk Technician. “It was a great opportunity. I would do it again. I would do it again next week.”