The Fung Group ran their second Hackathon, Hack the Rack, and brought together internal and external participants with industry backgrounds, data science experts and UX/UI developers who worked intensively over 2.5 days to solve real-life business challenges faced by the Fung Group.
Last year’s hackathon winners, Florian Gamper, founder of AI supply chain solution startup, Datacrag, and Tennie Siu of Li & Fung, spoke with us about what they got out of the whole experience.
What did you learn from the Fung Group’s hackathon 2017?
Both Florian and Tennie said being a part of the hackathon helped them learn to collaborate better. “I learned to listen, be open-minded to share and exchange ideas,” said Tennie, “people with different knowledge and expertise can provide solutions and different point of views.”
Florian shared a similar view, “during the challenge, I needed to coordinate and integrate everyone’s feedback into the group, especially when the younger team members without relevant experience will look at the challenge only from a technical perspective – the idea is the result of the thinking process of the whole group, rather than from myself.”
How did the experience help push you forward on your own career path?
Florian has taken his idea forward with the childrenswear team at Li & Fung, and they’ve completed a pilot trial. The concept uses AI and big data to digitalize the cost estimation and vendor assignment process. Outside of this project, Florian has given over 15 demos across the business units. With interest from the three Li & Fung teams, this project will be rolled out internally to them.
“For startups, hackathons are a good chance to get in touch with big companies, and to prove ourselves that we can create something useful, and it’s worth taking the risk to collaborate with us,” he said.
Tennie said she realized the increased opportunities for technological application at work. “The hackathon has broadened my horizons and given me a better understanding of how powerful technology is and how it can apply to our daily work in future, especially AI & machine learning,” she said.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved this year?
Florian: Be open. Go without any expectation. Enjoy. Stay until the end and you will see something rewarding. I went to the first hackathon without any expectation and it turned out to be fun. To prepare, participants from the business can familiarize with the business problem beforehand; for technical people, prepare some scripts to process data, churn excel files quickly and convert into
programming language usable formats.
Tennie: It’s definitely worth spending two full days of work even over the weekend. You will get way more valuable experience than what you can expect. So just bring a fresh mind to the event – that’s all you need!
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