Innovation leads the way at the 10th NAPA Hackathon
What is common between Airbnb – the popular room-sharing platform, Pokémon GO – the augmented reality game; NAPA Fleet Intelligence – a user-friendly cloud-based solution for improving ship efficiency and safety; NAPA Drafting – a tool for efficient drawing generation directly from the 3D model; and Cloud Optimization? Well, they all have originated from hackathons.
These success stories demonstrate the immense potential of hackathons in driving innovation, driven by company values that encourage experimentation and bold ideas.
In the search for the next groundbreaking innovations, we let the Naparians loose again in September 2023. The air was filled with buzzing energy, teams huddled together wearing blue T-shirts, keyboards clacking, Teams meetings connecting Naparians across the continents, and ideas and the smell of pizza flowing freely. It was time for the intensive 24 hours of the 10th NAPA Hackathon.
What is a Hackathon?
At its core, a hackathon is a marathon of hacking. It’s a focused event where teams of individuals come together to solve real-world problems, typically within a compressed timeframe of 24 or 48 hours.
While coding and software development are common themes in hackathons, NAPA Hackathon welcomes every Naparian to join the event equally – regardless of background or area of expertise. Once, we even invited our customers to join us in the hacking. The aim is to come up with innovations or development ideas relating to software development, business development, new products, service design, novel revenue opportunities, improved customer experience, internal processes, or ways of working – imagination (and perhaps time) being the only limit.
NAPA Hackathon provides a platform and is one channel for bringing up innovations and ideas in our organization. Participating in a Hackathon is a rewarding experience where we work together for a common goal; you can learn, share your knowledge, expand your network with fellow Naparians, and have fun! Most importantly, you can be part of creating a new innovative project that could be a foundation for something bigger and turn into a NAPA business, improve internal operations or processes, or turn into something fascinating for your career, too.
The winning idea
This year, eleven courageous teams of innovators signed up for the 10th NAPA Hackathon.
The teams had 24 hours to innovate and prepare an appealing presentation of their idea. There was a strict 5-minute time limit to pitch the idea and convince the audience of Naparians about the concept.
After seeing all the presentations, the audience voted on the winner. There were no formal criteria; it was up to each audience member to choose which project they thought was the best. When voting, one could also consider the following requirements:
- Usefulness – how much value does this project provide to the customer or NAPA?
- “Shippability” – how soon can we ship this or start using it? How much work remains to be done?
- Technical accomplishment – did the work address any significant technical problems?
- Flair – does the project stand out due to its user experience? Was it presented well?
The winning team of the NAPA Hackathon 2023, collecting 36% of the votes, was team !EXP NAPA with Jaakko Carlstedt and Eero Kahva. Jaakko and Eero created a virtual AI assistant that will undoubtedly be something to be further developed and investigated. Something the NAPA users would most likely appreciate.
As said, 11 teams participated in this year’s NAPA Hackathon. The participants were not only coders or nerds but Naparians from various parts of our organization: the People team, Marketing or Sales teams, Designer teams, Service teams, and R&D team – and from three continents. This year’s other innovative NAPA Hackathon teams, Ahoy – NAPAi, NAPA in the Clouds, FleetMind Fusion, Loading Unconditionally, Response Rangers, Rusting Data, Stabathon, Stranger Brinks, Team One NAPA, and The FourCasters came up with some pretty creative ideas. Who knows, perhaps some of them will be further developed and someday introduced to our customers or taken into use internally. That remains to be seen!
The NAPA Way – paving the way for innovation
What kind of organizations can succeed in creating new products, services, businesses, or ways of working? The building blocks for success are nicely embedded in NAPA’s values, the Ground Rules we follow in our self-managed organization, and in our inclusive and friendly culture – the NAPA Way.
Innovations and new ideas occur when people – who can be very different from each other- work seamlessly together. A team becomes more than the sum of its parts. By the NAPA value, Enjoy working together; we don’t mean only working with fellow Naparians, but also with our customers and other collaboration partners.
Innovativeness in work communities derives energy from psychological safety – that it is safe to be oneself – and fuels up from social courage – from daring to express one’s (even differing) thoughts and ideas. It takes courage to pitch an idea, trust your team, and dive headfirst into a whirlwind of creativity. Courage leads the way! Commitment builds trust!
Expertise and professionalism are the foundations of innovation and an empowered organization. Success through learning!
At NAPA, these intense, time-bound Hackathon events have become a breeding ground for innovation, fostering creativity, collaboration, progress, and out-of-the-box thinking. The power to transform ideas into reality is enriching and inspiring. Through innovations, we push our company forward, stay relevant in the competitive market, and grow our business. We strengthen relationships with our customers, partners, and colleagues and build our employer brand. And most of all – have fun & enjoy working together while creating software and data services for ship design and operations to enable a safer, more sustainable, and future-proof maritime industry.
Would you be interested in joining our innovative team of Naparians? Visit NAPA Careers, check out our open positions, or connect for future opportunities.
This blog was first published on LinkedIn on 17 October 2023 by Minna Ranta.