- Rhys Orwin - 10 Jul 2015

The PhotoBox Group hackathon – London

We’ve just completed the 4th PhotoBox Group hackathon! Hosted in our new Southwark home, we wanted to see what our 62 participants (we even had colleagues coming from Valencia and Paris) from 5 brands in 14 teams could create in 24 hours.

So to start with, what is a hackathon?
For the uninitiated amongst you, a hackathon is a creativity (not to mention beer and pizza) fuelled code fest. The best and brightest come together to break the constraints of due process and everyday business objectives to battle it out and create the most amazing and mind blowing projects they can within 24 hours.

It begins!

It begins!

Aside from it being great fun, why do it?
We ran our very first hackathon in 2013, and from that, we have taken multiple ideas and built upon them to create real business value that take us closer to our mission of delighting our customers. One project that you may have seen is the mobile photo book that’s now live in the wildly successful m-studio allowing our customers to create a photo book in a matter of minutes on our site without the need for a dedicated mobile App.

Giving our teams the freedom to work on whatever excites them the most – which is not always possible throughout with the distractions of day-to-day business – produces incredible ideas that we may have never dreamed of. It supports the entrepreneurial mindset and environment that we strive to foster. As we grow, we want to make sure that we still maintain the start-up style innovation culture that has got us to where we are today, and this is a great step to help that goal.

Our hackathon is well and truly underway! #hackyraces

A photo posted by PhotoBox UK (@photoboxuk) on

What are the rules?
We strive to leave the rules as relaxed as possible and let the teams work on whatever they think will be the most fun, it can be hardware or software based and this year, the teams have really took that mantra to heart. We had entries covering all aspects of our business from customer service to customer delight, new office systems to help us navigate our new home and some that are very, very far beyond…

The only hard and fast rule is that none of the hacks can be shared outside of the office, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be seeing a lot of them very soon!

#hackathon #hackyraces #photobox #twitter #angrybirds

A video posted by @_graaaam_ on

Hardware isn't going to be left out of our hackathon this year! #hackyraces

A photo posted by PhotoBox UK (@photoboxuk) on

Do people really stay all night?
We were amazed this year, after 40 pizzas and who knows how many beers we had 18 people here coding all night! It was fair to say that by the time breakfast arrived, we were all very ready for it.

After 24 hours at 12pm we called time. Teams have just one hour to prepare a presentation to show off all their hard work, the catch is, that they have a hard 2-minute time limit each followed by 2-minutes of questions from the judging panel, so no pressure!

Waiting patiently for it to begin

Waiting patiently for it to begin

All topped off with a personalised cake

All topped off with a personalised cake!

We wish we could tell you more but… Don’t be surprised if you see some amazing new developments coming to our services over the next few months – courtesy of our hackathon teams!