35 developers, programmers and entrepreneurs joined together for a hackathon to compete for the top prize of $10,000. Goal: Improving professional personal wellness of Daimler employees through digital innovation. The event was sponsored by Daimler Financial Services in collaboration with the Digital Transformation Office for HR at Daimler.
Software platforms, mobile apps and automated workflows – Daimler’s employees are unrivaled in achieving their customer service and efficiency goals. However, most important factor is and will be the human who sits at the center of every customer touchpoint. “We at Daimler Financial Services have a strong corporate culture. The foundation are our employees and we invest in them. This becomes tangible in the very good results of the Great Place to Work survey. The further improvement of health and wellbeing for our employees could bring us to the next level”, says Frank Maruna Head of HR DFS Germany.
Seeking to further embrace scalable digital solutions, Daimler looked to the tech community for an answer. “MobilityX is an innovation initiative where we are focusing on introducing outside innovation into our company. We conduct startup pitch competitions, hackathons or innovation bootcamps to be inspired by new and fresh ideas and to bring them back into our organization”, explains Franziska Kaercher, Manager Business Development FC.
Strangers Become Teammates
At the Hackathon kick off in Austin, a vast swath of ideas was pitched by participants, discussed and then voted on by the group. While most of the newly formed teams emerged from this creative process, several participants came to the hackathon with existing ideas they were eager to flesh out and build up; teammates Bhavin Gupta and Tabish Chasmawala were one such team: “When I worked at AirBnB, we did this thing called ‘the stair climb’ where all of us would meet in the lobby and race to the top of the 20-floor staircase as quickly as we could, and we had the idea to replicate this idea for Daimler” says Gupta and continues: “After speaking with Daimler mentors, our idea evolved from tracking how many flights of stairs employees climbed, to studying how employees move across their campus made up of several freestanding buildings.”
Creative Solutions to Age Old Problems
Ideas ranging from apps that incorporate mindful practices into employees’ calendars, to a tool that puts pedometer functionality into security badges that track and reward employees’ healthy choices.
Sam Marshall, Director of Innovation Management for MobilityX says of the event: “The main thing that I take away from this hackathon is the wide range of ideas that people have to address employee wellness. For one person, that can be psychological security, and on the other hand, some people want to bring their dog to work or have yoga in the office. As a company, we have to take these needs serious and address them.”
Convincing the Jury
After three days of hacking, the teams gathered to pitch to the panel of judges. Those were Timo Bularczyk, Frank Maruna, Josip Skafar and Josefin Lewetzky of Daimler, and Abba Binns, of Capital Factory.
Josip Skafar represented IT Daimler Financial Services in the judge panel and has been working with HR DFS on implementing several digital solutions. “It’s important to assess the different ideas from a scalability perspective, so we can secure fast and efficient implementation. People and culture is an important pillar of our strategy at ITF, and I am proud that we can do our part in helping generate additional value for our employees.”
In the end, “Intuitive Agenda” emerged victorious due to their seemingly simple solution to a very common problem; employees not having enough time to participate in a corporate wellness plan. Instead of creating one more thing for employees to do, Intuitive Agenda builds in five-, ten- or fifteen-minute wellness activities to the outlook calendars of Daimler associates.
Timo Bularczyk, Head of Digital Transformation Office HR Daimler, is more than happy with the Hackathon and concludes: “We want to enable our employees to do what they love, in their private life as well as in the business. People that love their job are satisfied and create awesome products and this is what we want to foster.”
The group from within Daimler will build upon their successful cross-divisional collaboration around the hackathon to jointly follow-up on the ideas and continue their conversations with some of the teams how to further develop their concepts into usable tools for Daimler’s 289,000+ employees.
Since 2017, Daimler Financial Services and Capital Factory have been partnering to create MobilityX, a transportation technology accelerator aimed at fostering the growth of new mobility-as-a service companies and bring innovative solutions to the transportation sector. The program is intended to help incoming startups accelerate the development of mobility-focused solutions and connect them into the Daimler ecoystem for business opportunities. MobilityX is part of Capital Factory, a proven, thriving startup accelerator and co-working space in the US.