Inventors flock to our annual Hackathon

When you’ve had that lightbulb moment it’s hard to switch it off, and for 70 budding inventors our seventh annual 24-hour Hackathon was the perfect place to turn bright ideas into reality.

We were thrilled to welcome 16 teams of hackers to our Welwyn Garden City campus this year where they had just 24 hours to turn their ideas for new technology to help our customers or colleagues, into a working prototype. Teams were a mix of office and store colleagues, and guests from companies such as IBM, O2, Oracle and Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH).

Working to the theme of ‘Future Trends’, the teams (many of whom worked through the night) produced a wide range of very impressive solutions, from new delivery models through to collaborative shopping propositions, voice-activated assistants, and the two-factor authentication for online shoppers.

Each team had three minutes to pitch and demonstrate their idea to our panel of judges: Chief Technology Officer Edmond Mesrobian, Technology Directory Mike Yorwerth, Chief Customer Officer Alessandra Bellini and BBC Click journalist Kate Russell. Together the judges chose their first, second and third prize winners, while an audience of colleagues from our Technology team voted for a ‘People’s Choice’ prize-winner. Event organisers from the Tesco Labs team also awarded a ‘Most Valuable Player’ prize to the person they thought had contributed the most to the event.

The winners

First prize: Tickets to attend Web Summit in Lisbon
Winners: James Davenport, Matthew Bennett, Oliver Joel and Lawrence Rayner (atHack of the Clones)
Hack: Multi-basket shopping. This extension to our Grocery Home Shopping site allows groups of people (e.g. in a house-share) to shop together – each adding their own products, but being notified of cost savings that they could take advantage of through multi-purchases. The customers are then able to shop in the most cost-effective way, but can also easily work out how much each has spent.

Second prize: Google Kitchen Sync cooking experience
Winners: BBH Stockholm
Hack: Collaborative shopping solution: an app that notifies customers when their friends, family and neighbours are planning to visit a store. This allows them to request items to be bought for them, and would reward the shopper with Clubcard points. An added benefit is that this would reduce the number of cars driven to stores, lessening the impact on the climate.

Third prize: Tickets to Tech. powered by Retail Week
Winners: Antony Turner and Roger Bowler – Clay Cross Extra
Hack: A McDonald’s-style drive-through delivery model for groceries. In the style of many fast food drive-throughs, customers would be able to drive directly to a tablet placed outside a store and select the items that they would like to purchase. This information would be relayed to colleagues via an app, picking would be done immediately, and the customer would have their items delivered directly to their car.

People’s Choice prize: Amazon Echo dot devices
Winners: Antony Turner and Roger Bowler – Clay Cross Extra
Hack: Drive-through delivery model

Most Valuable Player prize: Google Cardboard virtual reality device
Winner: Darren Gibson

Tesco Technology Grad Matthew Bennett was on the winning team and said: “I feel delighted about winning and so proud of what the team achieved in this time.” Meanwhile the third prize and coveted People’s Choice award went to Antony Turner and Roger Bowler of our Clay Cross Extra store. Antony commented: “Neither of us has much technical knowledge, and we don’t know how to code so it goes to show what you can achieve with a good idea!”

Thanks to everyone who participated and congratulations to our winners! It was fantastic to see teams from so many different disciplines come together to create such innovative solutions in such a short amount of time. Check out our photos of the event on Flikr.

If you'd like to know more information you can email us at labs@uk.tesco.com, or let us know your thoughts with a tweet @TescoLabs