Boundless Innovation: Recapping the 2021 FormAssembly Hackathon
When you think of the word “innovation,” your first thought may be of an era-defining new invention or product. But it doesn’t always have to be so extreme. Innovation happens anytime we discover ways to make products, services, or experiences better than they were before and open the door for what’s possible in the future.
On June 3, our own Engineering team hosted a company-wide science fair to demonstrate innovation within our own company. The science fair concluded the three-day hackathon, an opportunity to try new things without limitations and create something unique that may benefit FormAssembly.
“What makes a great product and a great company is finding ourselves at the intersection of what customers need and what’s possible,” said Cedric Savarese, FormAssembly CEO and Founder, to kick off the science fair. “Maybe these [projects] will turn into new features, and maybe they won’t. But we will learn something in the process.”
The Hackathon Goal
The engineering team had one goal for the hackathon: innovation.
“We wanted to give the team a break from the day-to-day, work together on projects, and innovate unbounded by any product, roadmap, commitment, or other restriction,” said Erik Dasque, VP of Engineering. The engineers were instructed to develop unique solutions for our product, think of new ways to improve the customer experience, or test ideas that weren’t achievable before.
The Hackathon Experience
Several members of the FormAssembly team participated in the hackathon and science fair. With insights from their own experiences working daily with our product and listening in on team or customer requests, the Engineering team put their heads together over a three-day period to work on a series of 12 innovative and solution-based projects. Each project was driven with the potential to directly improve FormAssembly as a product in the future.
The entire Engineering team agreed that the hackathon was a positive and engaging experience they would like to continue. “We collected some great ideas, showed implementation plans and functionality, and proved that we could make our product better,” said Michael Barton, Lead Product Engineer.
For other team members, the hackathon provided a unique creative outlet. “It gave engineers a chance to experiment and work on things that are not part of our day-to-day technologies or projects,” said Pawel Migut, Product Engineer.
The Hackathon Result
Here’s what members of the Engineering team had to say about the hackathon:
“It was great to be able to connect and focus on innovation, whether solo or in a team project. The company embraced [the hackathon] wholeheartedly, and we got nice feedback. I think it energized the engineering team and the company at large.”
– Erik Dasque, VP of Engineering
“It gave engineers a chance to really flex their brains and work on something personally exciting for them. We had a lot of strong projects presented at the science fair that showed off features and technologies not currently on anyone’s radar.”
– Aaron Brigham, Lead Product Engineer
“This was an opportunity to take these ideas off the shelf and play with them. The ideas everyone presented were phenomenal. So many good opportunities came out of three short days.”
– Clint Blakey, Senior QA Engineer
“We prototyped new, out-of-the-box ideas that could add spice to our product and engineering processes. Everybody on the Engineering team participated and built exciting projects in a short period of time.”
– Chukwuka Odina, Product Engineer
“The biggest success was seeing how much talent we have within the team (not that I ever doubted that) and seeing team members proudly present what they’ve created.”
– Pawel Migut, Product Engineer
“It allowed developers to show what they are passionate about and play with technologies they don’t get to in the day to day work. It was really fun and there was less pressure on the final product being ‘perfect.’”
– Ethan Brigham, Lead Product Engineer
“We created something unique that may benefit FormAssembly, without having to be distracted from the day-to-day job. I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t do a hackathon again!”
– Michael Barton, Lead Product Engineer
The hackathon and science fair proved to be a great success, bringing not only the Engineering team together, but the company as a whole together as well. This overwhelmingly positive response to the hackathon is a clear sign that the team will remain inspired to improve FormAssembly’s product in the future.
If there are particular features you believe would help improve your experience with our software, we encourage you to reach out to our support team by submitting a feature request!