The first Decathlon Hackathon was held at the end of February at the Campus site (France). No fewer than ten teams took part in the two-day event designed to forge real progress in innovative digital projects by freeing the business from its everyday constraints.
Bringing down barriers: this was the theme running through the Hackathlon’s inaugural year. Some seventy or so participants came together in our Alive space dedicated to innovation. The idea behind it was to spend two days pooling the talents and skills of employees who might otherwise not have had the opportunity to work together in their day-to-day jobs: tweaking, re-designing and – above all – making concrete progress. To help them, the organising team had invited along IT and electronics experts, and planned fast-track training sessions and inspirational presentations to eliminate any preconceptions and to enable participants to “hack” technologies, products and the business model.
“We wanted teams to show us the sort of innovations and investments that they’d like Decathlon to make,” explains Alexandre Toulemonde, who first came with the Hackathlon idea. “We were also keen for people to enjoy themselves; we wanted it to be pacey and fun,” continues Vincent Vatelot, a member of the organisational team that established the Hackathlon in this same spirit of resourcefulness and mutual cooperation. “Our role will also involve feeding back to recruitment teams about any shortcomings and suggesting changes to improve the way we nurture innovations in the digital field.”
“What if our products had a soul?” This year’s theme asked participants to think about digital products. How can we make our products responsible for motivating users, advising on safety and recommending the best places for sport, to strengthen our links with these users? The Decathlon Pro team gave a presentation on award-winning project Moti Moti, the virtual companion that feeds off your sporting activity, while Decathlon Coach worked on adding statistical monitoring to its mobile app, as well as a function designed to gauge wear and tear to sports equipment. The Belight team made a strong impression with its intelligent bicycle light; this guardian angel for cyclists is both practical and free to use. Lastly, the very well-received Decabots project set its sights on using robots to source products and get them onto our shelves.