Datacom’s biggest event, our annual hackathon Datacomp, attracted over 450 people and included 70 tertiary students from across New Zealand.

Datacomp is all about nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit where our people, customers and industry come together to create innovative solutions for some of our customers’ biggest problems or opportunities. Using a hackathon approach, teams collaborate through the weekend to ideate, validate, code and pitch their solutions to a judging panel.

For 2019, we upped the stakes and introduced TalentX — the inclusion of 70 students from tertiary organisations from around New Zealand. A major drawcard for these students was the chance for them to secure one of 10 internships that will see them work on the customer products they designed during Datacomp.

Circular economy

At Datacom, sustainability starts with acknowledging our responsibility to take our environmental impact seriously as befits both a large employer and a tech solutions company. Additionally, we work together with our customers to improve their environmental input with Datacom provided IT services and solutions.

To incorporate our sustainability beliefs, the theme for 2019 was ‘Circular’. We wanted our Datacompers to think about current models we use to purchase, use and dispose of products. We asked them to re-imagine building something new from the old.

At the same time, the strategy underpinning Datacomp is to meet the skills drought in our industry and to help us attract, retain and reskill our workforce to meet today’s new world. Datacomp is one way we can do this as an industry.

In the lead up to Datacomp, we hosted over 30 Keeping Sharp learning and development training sessions for our people, and for many of our supplier and service providers in the tech community.

TalentX internships

The 10 internships for leading young designers and developers will allow them to build, test and take to market the products they designed at Datacomp for real customers with real opportunities.

This pool of talent will work with us through the Microsoft Student Acceleration internships.

Advance to Go – circular customer solutions

With so many talented participants this year, we were amazed at the level of ingenuity and passion shown towards the chosen challenges. Some of the teams were earmarked by the judges for our Advance to Go programme. Teams that make the grade will be given resource to develop their projects further. In 2019, that included:

  • A team solving an energy hardship problem posed by Mercury, a power company whose electricity is 100 per cent from renewable sources including hydro power and geothermal stations
  • A team who looked at eliminating food waste from the economy – an idea that supermarket retailer Foodstuffs wished to work with the team on
  • Kai Mana, a team which worked to combine both Mercury and Foodstuffs’ initiatives to help make power more affordable for those who struggle to pay their power bills. Customers would be offered an incentive to pay their bill on time and they would also be able to access more affordable food to help eliminate food waste, if this food was going to be wasted.
an elephant ina. field
people sitting in canteen

With a judging panel including Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie, Kiwibank CEO Steve Jurkovich, co-founder of sustainability champion Again Again Melissa Firth and our CEO Greg Davidson, the judges found the calibre of entries extremely high, noting, “The work that had been put in by each team and the outcomes that been achieved is commendable. Everyone should be proud of what they managed to do in the allocated 48 hours. The prizes were hard fought.”

Greg said the outcomes were representative of our ethos of working at Datacom.

“Datacomp 2019 saw more collaboration than ever. There was immense friendliness shown by all the teams to each other, and towards our guests. There’s more to tech than code and the energy shown by everyone was the highlight of this year’s event.”

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