Ontra’s Hack Day: A mythical menagerie of innovation

June 11, 2024
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Table of Contents
  1. 01 On the day
  2. 02 The results

Every now and then, an event transforms the usual workday into a whirlwind of creativity. For Ontra’s R&D team, that event is Hack Day — a 24-hour period where R&D sets aside normal priorities for innovation to take center stage.

For those unfamiliar with a Hack Day, it is an event where teams collaborate intensively over a short period, typically 24-48 hours, to create innovative solutions, projects, or prototypes. This year’s theme, “Mythical Menagerie,” encouraged teams to bring their wildest ideas to life alongside a mythical mascot.

In the weeks leading up to Hack Day, excitement buzzed through Ontra. Team members pitched their ideas live, aiming to recruit colleagues from various teams. This cross-functional approach allowed for a melting pot of perspectives and led to groundbreaking projects.

On the day

Hack Day was a 24-hour code freeze — a pause on the regular 9-to-5 grind that allowed teams to dive deep into their projects. The atmosphere was electric, with everyone racing against the clock to build and perfect their solutions. Time zones were flexible, caffeine was necessary, and the sense of collective purpose was palpable.

“I enjoyed the collaborative spirit and creative freedom of Hack Day, which allowed us to experiment with a less prioritized idea and immediately see the impact for our customers. The event went incredibly smoothly, thanks to our dedicated team’s seamless collaboration and unified effort. I can’t wait to do it again!” – Chad Lillquist, Manager, Engineering

The results

By the end of the hackathon, 24 diverse projects emerged, each vying for top honors in categories like Most Innovative, Most Useful, Most Creative Mascot, and Best in Show. The competition was fierce, but the camaraderie was stronger. Colleagues cheered each other on, shared last-minute tips, and celebrated every success.

I really enjoyed the freedom this gave to think outside of the regular projects that we work on.  It also presented an excellent opportunity to work with others across the company that folks don’t normally work with on a day-to-day basis and watch bonds grow amongst those who otherwise wouldn’t get to work with each other.”  – Jessie Keck, Manager, Engineering

The highlight of Hack Day was the presentation session. Teams showcased their progress, whether their projects were fully functional prototypes or conceptual demos. From whimsical mascots to cutting-edge tools, each project reflected the passion and dedication of its creators.

Many of these Hack Day innovations are now being integrated into Ontra’s product lineup, a testament to the incredible talent within our team.

Hack Day at Ontra isn’t just about the final product — it’s about pushing boundaries, fostering collaboration, and embracing new ideas. We celebrate our team’s achievements and look forward to the next opportunity to unleash our collective creativity!

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Table of Contents
  1. 01 On the day
  2. 02 The results
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