Amazing supply chain ideas come to life with Kinaxis Hackathon

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Kinaxis Hackathon 2021 logo, a superhero

One of the hallmarks of powerful supply chain planning strategy is to never settle for the status quo. There’s always a drive for improvement – whether it’s lightning-fast response to changing customer demands, solving sudden supplier or logistic challenges, or sensing crises before they happen. At Kinaxis, our mission is to empower supply chain pros to make fast, confident supply chain decisions with our ever-evolving solutions to help plan for any future. 

Kinaxis is always working on going above and beyond expectations. To that end, all employees are invited to take part in Kinaxis Hackathon, an annual week-long competition where teams brainstorm, develop and pitch innovative and transformative ideas. 

Each year the competition has a fun theme, complete with swag packages for all participants. The 2021 theme is superheroes – to encourage every Kinaxis employee to tap into their clever, innovative superpowers and create something extraordinary.

For Kinaxis Hackathon 2021, teams of two to seven employees sign up to devise creative “hacks” to improve, enhance or add on to Kinaxis products and solutions. From  November 8-23, teams build their hacks and video submissions – and then Kinaxis employees around the world vote to choose the year’s winning hacks! In the past, Hackathon has led to new features for Kinaxis products, front-end gamification options, and more. 

What’s it like to be a Hackathon Hacker? Check out what these Kinaxis employees who’ve hacked their way into the competition say about their experiences, and why it’s so much fun to be part of this event:

Minni Ang

Advisory Developer, Product Verification
Years of Hackathon: 2
Best part of the Hackathon experience: “Time to explore something different than our usual work, and a chance to work with people from other teams.”
How Hackathon adds to the culture of Kinaxis: “Sets a great environment for innovation and exploration – groundbreaking ideas typically stem from free play!” 
A past Hackathon project I’m proud of: “I’m on the development team of a soon-to-be-released game that only started up after our team’s Hackathon win last year with the Paper Chain Game.” 
Why Hackathon matters: “Every tech company should have an annual Hackathon. The Kinaxis Hackathon makes me feel like I’m working at MIT or something!” 

Masoud Chitsaz

Technical Thought Leader
Years of Hackathon: 1
Best part of the Hackathon experience: “The sense of being involved, being important, and being part of the future of Kinaxis.”
How Hackathon adds to the culture of Kinaxis: “It sends a strong message to employees that I believe is: YOU are all part of a big family and YOU all matter here. Every single ONE of you is important for the success of Kinaxis. WE are all working together as ONE (organizational) body.” It gives a real ‘connectedness’ feeling that you need to stay motivated and focused on your daily tasks.”
A past Hackathon project I’m proud of: “The Objective ASI project led to a feature that brings client choice capabilities to RapidResponse clients. Also, the Paper Chain Game brought gamification to supply chain. Supply chain games help people learn the concepts, and that attention to details of the business is very important.” 
Why Hackathon matters: “Many organizations struggle with having concrete and relevant ideas for growth and improvement. At Kinaxis, these ideas are mostly developed by employees while they are having fun working together at Hackathon.”


Fraser Gordon

Content Developer/Project Manager, Knowledge Creation
Years of Hackathon: 3
Best part of the Hackathon experience: “Collaborating with people I might not otherwise get to interact with. We have a lot of really fun people to hang out with at this company, so I really just enjoy collaborating and laughing at all the strange stuff we can come up with!"
How Hackathon adds to the culture of Kinaxis: “Hackathon is a point of pride for a lot of people, and it showcases the varying approaches we all take, combined under the umbrella of a Kinaxis solution."
A past Hackathon project I’m proud of: “Last year’s Paper Chain Game project. It’s become a game front-end, driven by RapidResponse back-end, concurrent with four players competing against other teams. It’s a great way to showcase RapidResponse, and also get people learning about supply chain concepts in a very concrete and fun way!”
Why Hackathon matters: “Hackathon is a great way to break out of stale ways of thinking and spark new ideas that you can take back to your team for future innovations. Knowing we have an executive that actively supports and encourages this kind of activity gives me a lot of confidence in our ability to deliver top-tier solutions to our customers.”

Sriprasadh Raghunathan

Principal Developer, Algorithms, Business Applications
Years of Hackathon: 3
Best part of the Hackathon experience: “Working as a team to attain something new that may sound ambitious at the start.”
How Hackathon adds to the culture of Kinaxis: “I think it lets everyone think beyond the obvious, without fear. It makes us more creative and self-empowered – providing an opportunity to try out what we think can add value to the Kinaxis business.”
A past Hackathon project I’m proud of: “Objective ASI. The idea is to make the supply planning heuristics algorithm such as Automated Sourcing Intelligence (ASI) to satisfy business objectives. The Hackathon provided a way to customize ASI with objectives and weights.” 
Why Hackathon matters: “With Hackathon, Kinaxis invests a week where we can fully focus on it without having to distract on other priorities. That’s a great opportunity to have fun innovating new stuff that can help. We learn a lot during this time. For me, it definitely improves my mental health.”


Prabhakar Regmi

Principal Developer, Algorithms, Business Applications
Years of Hackathon: 6
Best part of the Hackathon experience: “I value the innovation. Several times during regular work, we come up with various ideas that would help us or our customers. Hackathon gives us an avenue to explore and implement those ideas.”
How Hackathon adds to the culture of Kinaxis: “It’s a fun event – at the office, it means activities including ping-pong and foosball tournaments, catered food, candies, and more. It helps in teambuilding, giving opportunities for people to meet others from different teams and create magic together.”
A past Hackathon project I’m proud of: “Visual planner, in which we introduced a revolutionary visual planning user interface.”
Why Hackathon matters: “Hackathon has the potential to turn employee ideas into a well-defined feature in a product. Events like Hackathon bring about a fresh perspective on what the product can actually be. It’s really a bonus how fun these events are.”


Tanya Scheffler

Manager, Database Development, Back-End Technologies
Years of Hackathon: 2
Best part of the Hackathon experience: “I really like the opportunity to learn, innovate and meet new people.”
How Hackathon adds to the culture and values of Kinaxis: “In other companies I’ve worked at, ‘hackathon’ was usually only one day. It wasn’t enough time to really innovate and come up with something useful. Here at Kinaxis, I have seen projects from last year’s Hackathon come to fruition or be put on our roadmap. That’s really cool. It shows that Kinaxis is serious about investing in innovation and its people.”
A past Hackathon project I’m proud of: “Last year we came up with a game that would teach people about the supply chain using the toilet paper industry as our inspiration. It was a lot of fun. I met new people, learned new concepts, helped out a lot and had a great time.”
Why Hackathon matters: “I talk about Hackathon when I’m conducting interviews because I’m so impressed Kinaxis gives a whole week to people to work on these projects. It reflects how much Kinaxis really cares about innovation and about its people. It’s awesome!”

Learn more about life at Kinaxis and see our current job openings if you're interested in joining our global team of supply chain planning superheroes!

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