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ECN hosts first hackathon to boost team building within the company

Emergency Communcations Network Hackathon
From left: Eduardo Gueiros , Kyle Drewes, Brooke Holford and Yuanmei Zhong pose with their ECN Hackathon trophies.

Emergency Communications Network (ECN), a mass notification system provider, hosted its first Hackathon as a way to encourage innovation and team building within the company.
Dec. 4 and 5, ECN team members from the software department gathered for a 24-hour Hackathon at a hotel on the beach. The competition required them to come up with a concept and take it through to the wireframe stage. Software developers, database administrators, software engineers, quality assurance and GIS specialists were the team members who participated.
Five teams of four created a new feature or product that enhanced one or more ECN products or created an entirely new one.  The concept was expected to be in line with ECN’s core competencies and reasonable to accomplish with the tools ECN uses.
The Hackathon not only encouraged employees to be innovative and think of new ways to improve company products, but it also fostered an environment for team members to improve their teamwork. ECN wanted each team to understand the strengths of each team member and utilize them to their fullest.
According to Director of Software Development Gary Vanopdorp, ECN had three goals in mind for the Hackathon:

  1. To create an opportunity for team building
  2. To spur innovation for the company
  3. For participants to have fun

The teams presented their concepts to a panel of judges, who evaluated their work based on social impact, business enhancement, feasibility, originality and presentation.
“All five teams had astounding ideas and the judging was very close,” Vanopdorp said.
The event concluded with an awards banquet and prizes were awarded to the winning team, the ECN Beach Bums. Yuanmei Zhong, Brooke Holford, Kyle Drewes and Eduardo Gueiros each took home a Roku streaming player, a trophy and championship patches to add to their t-shirts. ECN is thinking about doing another Hackathon next year and expanding participation to other departments or companies outside of ECN.