BMJ Technology Hackday

Earlier in October this year, BMJ Technology ran a hack day. The idea was to take novel ideas from around the company and apply new technologies to them, while at the same time creating a team building environment. We decided that two days would allow enough time for a good output, with a show and tell session judged by senior members of BMJ to finish off.

To form a list of potential ideas we quizzed the business, using our google+ social media accounts and the occasional prompting emails. The results we terrific, we received over 50 ideas some completely left field and others closely tied to existing products. These ideas were shortlisted by the members of technology team prior to the hackday, so that delays were minimised on the day.

On the day with the 10 or so top ideas pasted around the walls of BMJ’s collaboration area, the teams self organised. Developers, ux designers, testers and other members of the department found like minded people to spend the next two days hacking with.

Over the course of the first day the collaboration area was impressively busy, ideas hatched and problems were solved with some members of the teams staying until late in the night, fuelled by carbs from the huge amount of pizza provided at lunchtime. Day two saw the same frenzied activity, as team members finalised ideas and started thinking about the presentations they would be giving mid afternoon.

Four o’clock arrived and the teams lined up to show what they had created. Around a hundred members of the company turned up to see what the technology department had been doing for the last two days.

With the ideas presented, the judges left to deliberate and returned to award the voucher prizes. Third place was a room finding app for the BMA house (it is a complicated building and lots of people get lost), joint first was a Tinder type app for hospitals to find locums, along with a website for doctors obituaries with interesting facts figures and graphs.

Once the ceremony had been completed it was time for celebration party, which hopefully will be included in the next hackday.

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