AF Group Completes First Annual Hackathon — Employees Produce Seven Working Mobile Applications in 24 Hours
AF Group recently gathered innovators from throughout the company at its Lansing headquarters to take part in a first-ever weekend Hackathon – an event in which computer programmers and representatives partner together to build a usable software solution as part of a team challenge. In less than 24 hours, a total of seven teams produced working mobile applications that provided a business solution.
The teams totaled 32 employees in all, comprised of individuals from different areas of the company, with varying technical skills and business knowledge. After a designated time for application development, each team presented its final solution to a known business challenge and demonstrated it on a smartphone. The presentations were judged by senior officers of the organization, with three winning teams selected. Those teams earned prize money and walked away with a sense of accomplishment, having created a full-blown mobile application.
“All of the participants witnessed the power of cross-functional teams and learned firsthand how mobile technology can enable business,” said Jeffrey White, director of innovation at AF Group and head of Innovation Works. “The mobile applications created during the challenge were not just colorful wireframes. Each provided a working solution to a known business challenge.”
Examples of the winning prototypes included tools to make agents more productive, workflow enhancements to assist in loss prevention and real-time claim information for injured workers.
“Building an innovative organization that is prepared for long-term success is a difficult challenge,” added Said Taiym, vice president and chief information officer at AF Group. “Our continued success as an elite insurance carrier is dependent on this type of innovation. When innovation is encouraged, and people work together, great things can happen.”
Winners from the three teams included the following employees: Chris Beasley, Thomas Oates, Stacey Johnson, Nanette Morel, Carl Utess, Luke Stanton, Andrew Zenk, Karthik Ramadoss, Brad Bykowicz and Amy Bartelt.