Electrolux hosts first ever Hackathon

Electrolux quest to come up with world-class consumer experiences in the home inspired applicants from across Europe to take part in the first Electrolux Hackathon, held in Stockholm on June 8-9, 2016.

A diverse and international group of professionals was selected to take part and bring innovative thinking to the fore in the Group’s three focus areas: Taste, Care and Wellbeing.

“We have brought together around 30 participants with different background and skillsets including industrial designers, consumer service professional, bankers and business developers, and asked them to create, collaborate and define what could become world-class consumers experiences,” said David Cronström, Senior Innovation Portfolio Director, Electrolux. “It’s all about what you can achieve through our products and services; making great tasting food for family and friends, caring for clothes to keep them new for longer, and creating a feeling of health and wellbeing in the home.”

The goal was to go beyond the Group’s in-house expertise and gain greater perspective from ‘hackers’ – who are ultimately consumers – from outside of Electrolux. A traditional Hackathon is an event where programmers and other relevant experts collaborate over a short period of time on a software or hardware project.

“It’s a chance for us to learn how we can work with the Hackathon format for injecting innovation into our system,” Cronström adds. “Essentially, it’s about building an ecosystem of partnerships that, together with us, can create, build and augment the experiences within Taste, Care and Wellbeing.”

This event was a successful twist on the standard tech world hackathon according to Aniel Bhaga, a Global Consumer Experience Manager, from Australia/Sweden. “Participants are usually set the task to develop code to make a process work but here we are working with consumer emotions and experiences.”

“It’s not something we’d necessarily expect from a company like Electrolux but what we’ve learned is that the company is at the forefront of bringing in their consumers to move things forwards and that’s very much needed in the industry now,” he adds.

All participants took part in a briefing session but brought varied knowledge about the company to the event. “This is a great chance for me to step out of my comfort zone. Every company should do these kind of events – to find out how consumers think. What we can bring is a lot of perspective that is not necessarily related to home appliances,” said Teemu Hapala, an Industrial Designer from Finland.

First-time Hackathon attendee Sara Lönnberg, Regional Manager at Hemfrid – a private cleaning company in Sweden saw a win-win situation in taking part. “We are using Electrolux machines in people’s homes so it’s fantastic to be able to think together to ultimately find better solutions.”

All teams had the chance to pitch their ideas at the end of the final day to the jury, consisting of both Electrolux and external members. “We were very impressed with the creativity and engagement of the participants and their different skills, backgrounds, industries, perspectives made for a unique environment from which a range of inspiring consumer experience concepts emerged,” Cronström says.

“It’s almost like cooking a new dish that requires a mix of ingredients to create a unique taste. There are similarities within innovation and at this Hackathon the participants, their experiences and ideas were the ingredients for making great experiences.”

Following a successful start, Electrolux intends to develop its use of the Hackathon format and host similar events to strengthen its innovation and digital transformation journey. All ideas from the day and will be reviewed and evaluated and further Hackathons are due to take place before the end of the year.