On Friday 31st of August, 9 teams of EY intrapreneurs gathered at the brand new wavespace in Antwerp to start a 24 hour hackathon. This hackathon fits within the Innovate EY program that stimulates EY employees to think about innovative solutions in our business. There was a lot at stake: the hackathon was an opportunity to get major progression in the business cases the teams are developing, supported by their coaches and The Factory Crew. The team with the best progression & pitch won a golden ticket to the validation night on October 8, where an EY jury will decide which project(s) can enter the startup phase.

What’s a hackathon? A hackathon is an event, mostly during the weekend, where several teams focus non-stop on solving a problem. Within the Innovate EY program, the teams of intrapreneurs got 24 hours to optimize their business case by challenging it, asking for quick feedback and pivot their plan if necessary.

The hackers were fully armed with digital whiteboards to (re)design concepts, meeting rooms that are especially designed to stimulate creativity, a ping-pong table to take a well-deserved break, and the innovation experts of The Factory.

The teams work on a variety of ideas that could either make their daily job at EY more efficient, or improve the service to EY’s clients. During the first 6 months of the Innovate EY program, they followed workshops and trainings on ideation, pitching, business model canvas, how to build financial plans, etc. At the hackathon, each team got support from The Factory crew who helped them optimize their pitch and search for the right technologies to develop their solution. “I sit together with each team to understand their case and evaluate which kind of technical profile they need to quickly make progress. That can be a graphic designer, a front-end or back-end developer. I also try to estimate how long it would take to develop their solution and try to coach them in keeping it as simple as possible.”, says Priscila Manfrini, CTO of The Factory, while she’s in the brainstorm meeting room with one of the teams.

Innovation isn’t always a happy journey and some of the teams had to re-think their business model and make sure their solution would fit the needs of EY or its clients. The hackathon ended with a pitch contest in front of a jury. Wouter Desmet, Chief Innovation Leader & co-founder of The Factory, Pauline Bourgois, co-founder of The Factory and Bruno Wattenbergh, Senior Advisor and Ambassador for Innovation at EY, carefully listened to the teams and asked them questions about finance, scalability, feasibility and the technical aspects of the solutions.

All teams made incredible progress after 24 hours. They defined their next steps and have a better view on their solution. After deliberation, The Chameleons from EY’s sustainability department won the golden ticket for the validation night on October 8. They are developing a tool that maps a company’s sustainability profile in only 1 hour. The Factory crew wants to thank everyone that made this hackathon possible! We are especially proud of all the teams who showed courage and perseverance during an intensive journey. Innovation isn’t their daily job and it’s truly inspiring to see these motivated intrapreneurs work their way towards a better working world!