Aust & NZ
9th Nov 2015

2015 Hackathon – An opportunity for staff to create

In the middle of October, Pentana Solutions held its first ever Hackathon, an event which will become a permanent fixture in the company’s innovations calendar. Global Head Office in Melbourne, Australia hosted the event which saw some participants travel from interstate offices to join the local staff in an attempt to be awarded the winner of our first ever Hackathon.

What was the ‘Hackathon’?

The Hackathon is an opportunity for all our staff to use their creative minds and develop an idea to further enhance an existing product or, create an entirely new product or service. Allowing staff to use their personally developed skillset freely, and in a creative environment is the main objective. Although many may feel a Hackathon is designed for the technically minded, teams can be created to leverage different expertise covering the technical, design and commercial viability aspects in an overall concept. After all, an individual may have the greatest idea however if you can’t convince the judging panel it ticks all boxes it may not score as high as it could.

How does it work?

Participants are given only 24 hours to develop and workshop their idea. The next couple of hours were assigned to create a presentation. Participants were then required to pitch their ideas to the Hackathon judges within a strict three-minute timeframe, the presentation needed to include supporting collateral to demonstrate the idea such as a slideshow, images, examples etc. Idea’s which had a working concept or code had a distinct advantage.

The judging panel comprised of Nev Blackley (Chief Operating Officer), Craig Stanley (Executive of Innovation), Stuart Roberts (Executive – Vertical Markets), and Peter Aitken (Executive – Special Projects) and Rick Pinto (Executive of Australia & New Zealand).

When the first team was called up to present, it was an example of what can be achieved when given the freedom to create. Moments before the first pitch there were many emotions in the room. Excitement, intrigue, fascination, nerves, and by the end of the next two and a half hours of presentations, shock and amazement. The judges not only evaluated the ideas based on criteria to select the winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize however by the end of the presentations they had underlined many ideas that could be implemented and would provide our customers with an immediate benefit.

The winner of the 2015 Hackathon was a staff member by the name of Daxesh Vadgama. Dax has been with the company for only four months, he entered into the Hackathon with the team name Dax. His previously acquired skillset allowed him to create what he called PIA, Personal Intelligent Assistant for our latest and most innovative Dealer Management System, eraPower.

Upon hearing about the Hackathon, Dax was incredibly excited to be a part of the first Hackathon as “it was a platform to do something with a product idea, be proactive spending time solely dedicated to that project and have the opportunity to present it to the executives and business owners, receiving recognition for your personal innovations and hard work”. Dax is relatively new to the industry, after graduating with his Masters in IT and Computer Engineering last year, he has always been interested in IT Development. The idea came from a university assignment completed for his Bachelor’s Degree. With the experience he has since gained being in the workforce, he has implemented his new skills to his best ability and improved on the idea.

In the last few weeks since the event was held, several of the innovations generated from the Hackathon have now moved into a ‘request for development’ stage. “To have staff work on their creative ideas, pitch them to a panel of judges and now some reach the ‘request for development’ stage is a fantastic reflection of our staff. If it wasn’t for them, their ideas and most importantly, their passion for what they do, our solutions would be outdated very quickly. It’s a great achievement to all involved”, Sean Brown – Chief Innovations Officer of Pentana Solutions.

“Whilst the Hackathon is in its infancy, the 2015 event was a great success and like most things, it will get bigger and better as time goes by”, says Sean. Without a doubt, the next few subsequent Hackathons are dates which are already booked in some staff member’s calendar as their eager minds tick away.

This is just another way how Pentana Solutions continues to drive success through innovation. Learn how to be involved by emailing and we will reply at our earliest convenience.