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A hackathon with a purpose: How cross-team collaboration and dedicated focus solved a critical user challenge

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One crucial user need. Over thirty cross-functional Cogniters in a room. And just a few days to solve it.

A goal that unites Cogniters is our desire to liberate data to make humans more creative and digitally capable. At the same time data scientists have encountered foundational challenges and gaps that hinder true progress in building and creating solutions. Director of Product Management Andreea Pastinaru believes the answer lies in a delightful, low-code user experience when creating industrial solutions.

“We had known about this user problem for quite a long time,” Andreea shares. “But moving as fast as we do, we rarely had time to give the challenge the focus it deserved.”

Because the experience required the integration of two user experiences, Andreea wasn’t even sure if the unified experience was technically feasible. To her knowledge, this hadn’t been done before. “We’re treading new territory,” she says. “In order to solve this, we needed to bring in teams across Cognite to work together in the same room.”

Andreea’s idea: A hackathon with a distinct purpose.

While Cognite is no stranger to hackathons, this one had a catch: Instead of teams working separately on passion projects, they would all focus on a single goal. If all went well, the teams would produce a proof of concept (PoC) demonstrating a unified user experience.

A hackathon was also a great opportunity to bring new Cogniters together. “A lot of the Cogniters who joined the hackathon were in a new department and didn’t know each other well,” says Andreea. “We thought this could be a great way to help the teams become more comfortable collaborating.”

Andreea immediately got to work gathering hackathon participants from across Cognite. External partners like Grafana, Aker BP, and Microsoft were also included.

On the day of the hackathon, this spirit of collaboration continued. “The most interesting story I think was in how organic the collaboration was from the very beginning. There was barely any ice to break!” Andreea laughs.

Was the hackathon a success? “Absolutely,” Andreea gushes. “We totally achieved our purpose. Everyone was so engaged!”

With their PoC in hand, Andreea and her team already have a plan to push the product into production. “We already have a lot of internal users and customers excited about this,” says Andreea.

With this success behind her, Andreea is not finished. “There are so many user problems we can solve when we come together and co-create.”

Product managers at Cognite are empowered to indulge in their curiosity and follow their passions. Don't wait. Apply today and come along for the ride.

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