It was three days of thrills, putting stamina to the test. This meant working in teams to think, brainstorm, conduct research and wrestle with tough problems until late into the night. At a hackathon, teams compete to devise solutions that they then present to a panel of judges at the end. The objective of a hackathon is, by the end of the event, to work together to create useful, creative or entertaining software products or, more broadly, to find solutions to existing problems. Timeboxing and the competitive element between the teams are extremely important.

Stamina and perseverance
HÖRMANN Digital’s first hackathon, themed around the concept of the smart city, was held at the Munich Urban Colab, the Technical University of Munich’s innovation centre, on 3 and 4 May 2021. Two teams of four stepped up to the challenge, one focusing on energy monitoring and the other working on an analytical tool to help with taking care of plants. The two teams then had an hour to prepare before presenting their solutions to the judges.

Finding different ways of working together
‘What’s special about this is definitely the challenge of developing something presentable within the brief time allotted before the end of the hackathon,’ said Christoph Söllner, who works at HÖRMANN Digital and is already a seasoned hackathon pro. ‘Something I really like is the fact that the team comes together more quickly because everyone is so focused on solving the problem as one unit. It allows for a much more intense experience of getting to know each other, especially when it’s a frequent occurrence for teams from different units to work together within one company.’

New methods, new skills
As well as the core team, there were people from outside the company taking part in the first HÖRMANN Digital hackathon. ‘I was impressed by how much my colleagues learned about new technology within a very short space of time. After a couple of hours, they had the sensors for monitoring plants up and running on an electronics platform as if it were absolutely second nature to them,’ said Söllner. Formats like the hackathon help to break down inhibitions and thereby open up new methods and ways of thinking. ‘I’m in no doubt that this will help us to develop innovations more quickly – and it helps that a hackathon like this is a lot of fun, too.’

Hörmann Digital Hackathon