What the heck is H4CK 7H3 0R6!?

For many years the term ‘hackathon’ has been associated with software developers and all-night coding powered by energy drinks. But as much as we love our ‘traditional’ hackathons (we host many throughout the year) Elsbeth from our Talents & Culture team felt like it was time to give the whole company the chance to experience the excitement and team spirit that is connected to a hackathon.

“I always saw the promotion of the yearly internal & external hackathons. I noticed the enthusiasm of the participants and I heard about the great outcomes, it sparked my interest and I was eager to join. But then I found out that these hackathons were just for the techies within trivago – understandably, but a bit of a shame for the rest of us.

It got me thinking, what if we combine strengths and we create a hackathon where anybody in the company can join, and where the outcome can be any kind of business idea in any form? Great ideas must come from that! I wanted to see what we could come up with if we joined forces, so I pitched the idea for Hack the Org to my lead. Luckily there was support for the idea and in April 2017 we made the first edition happen.” – Elsbeth Reinke

So, following Elsbeth’s stroke of genius, on Thursday 6th April 2017, we split into 16 teams for our first company-wide hackathon!

Hack the Org follows no set brief, just to ‘be creative’, this blank canvas gives the participants the opportunity to let their imagination run wild and we have not been disappointed. Ideas our teams have come up with range from an AI value-determining tool called ‘Mic’, to the ‘trivago Farm’ – a place where people with certain knowledge, meet those who need it.

After a full day of hacking the groups present their ideas to a crowd and a panel consisting of Managing Directors and trivago veterans. The votes are weighted 50/50 between the panel and fellow hackers and judged on four different categories: Innovation/creativity, feasibility, cost reduction/efficiency and business potential.

After the votes are tallied, the victorious teams are presented with prizes and win bragging rights around the office, but by far the most valuable reward for winning Hack the Org is the continued support of the panel in bringing their ideas to execution.

We recently had our second edition of Hack the Org and it shows no sign of slowing down in the future!

My vision for Hack the Org was to make it a joint event for all office locations – as one trivago family. In 2018 we made it possible for participants in Palma to join and the distance has never felt smaller. My wish for Hack The Org is that next year we can boost the participation level and bring in even more remote offices. I can’t wait to get inspired again by my fellow colleagues!” – Elsbeth Reinke

Check out the video below to get a taste of how Hack the Org 2018 went down.

Florian Krushel

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