With the world changing so quickly, and digital transformation now the normative state, our customers are increasingly asking themselves ‘What's next?’, rather than ‘What now?’.

Finding the answer often requires the freedom to experiment.

Back in 2012, Datacom gathered a bunch of talented technologists together in Auckland for a weekend hackfest centred around developing Metro Apps for Windows 8. The ideas, collaborations and new apps that emerged during that feverish 48 hours of hacking inspired us to think about how we could capture that energy to help our customers use technology to achieve societal impacts and innovate in their businesses.

The result was HackAssist – a programme which sees us guide our customers' teams through a 48-hour coding blitz. 

Beyond the social and technical component, HackAssist was created to help organisations find new ways of working and creating. It's designed to slot in perfectly with an organisation's existing change and innovation programmes, and fosters a digital culture based around disruption and challenging old ideas.

It also allows our customers’ talent of the future to shine and to develop their networking and technical skills.

HackAssist is fun, productive and delivering results for some of the biggest companies in Australasia, who have partnered with Datacom to run hackfests involving up to 300 people at a time.

In 2018, Foodstuffs, New Zealand’s biggest grocery distributor and one of the country’s largest business organisations.participated in a HackAssist. 

"The format seemed really right for us to try something where we weren't really sure where we would end up, and to do some experimentation in a safe environment with some really good guidance," says David Brem, head of customer experience and personalisation, Foodstuffs.

The HackAssist was a great success. Foodstuffs took some of the winning ideas to prototype and later to market, and it also proved a hit with participants, who rated it incredibly high in a follow-up Net Promotor Score survey.

"It really made us feel confident about running these events again," adds David.

Around 120 people participated in the first Genesis Energy Hackfest in 2017, amounting to 12 per cent of its workforce. It resulted in four ideas being taken forward to market. Now, the hackfest is a regular event at Genesis.

"HackAssist proved to be a huge cultural catalyst. Our people became super-enthused, during the event and for a long time after," says Jennifer Cherrington-Mowat, executive general manager, technology and digital, Genesis.

The success of HackAssist has put us top-of-mind for an increasing number of customers looking for ways to navigate a changing technology-driven, business landscape. Our ‘hackathon pedigree’ is centred around one simple tenet: while innovation and transformation may be powered by technology, they are always engineered and implemented by truly exceptional people.

With HackAssist, we empower your organisation to democratise your innovation process. We know from our own experience this intense burst of activity can unstick the trickiest of problems and shine a light on the real issues we face. If it works for us we're sure it can work for you too. Let us know if you'd like to find out more.

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