AgriDigital holiday hackathon

Agtech never sleeps! Two teams, three days and a whole lot of competitive spirit saw AgriDigital’s first Christmas Hackathon a major success.

What is a hackathon?

During a hackathon, a group of passionate individuals holding various skills, engage in collaborative computer programming; and AgriDigital’s hack was just that.

The teams worked to build out two vastly different projects.The first team, led by Meryl Gibbs, one of our Business Analysts, sought to improve customer experience by building a freight calculation system within the AgriDigital platform. The second team, led by Domink Moreitz, a Developer, looked to gamify our internal incentives scheme, through an internal blockchain rewards system for employees.

Meryl & Dom sat down and gave us a quick run through of how their team approached the hackathon and the solution they built.

Q&A with Dominik Moreitz

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Brief outline of your project

Our project was to “gamify” an existing process to make it less tedious and improve internal efficiency and performance.

What were you looking to solve?

We chose to work on AgriDigital’s internal reward process and develop a peer-to-peer rewards program, as an alternative to a top down approach. We then set out to ‘gamify’ this by having reward tiers and monthly company-wide prizes. The aim was to enable team members to reward each other directly, and we wanted to do this using blockchain technology to ensure it was on an immutable, distributed ledger.

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What process did your team follow?

The first half of Day One was spent honing our solution as gamification is a very broad topic and could have been applied to any number of different processes. Next, we sketched up a high-level design before getting stuck in to building the solution during the second half of the day.

Day Two was filled with continued work on building the solution, as well as getting ready for the presentation on the final day. Our team had diverse capabilities which meant we could easily divide and conquer, working on all required areas simultaneously, from defining the business guidelines and “coin economics” to setting up a private blockchain environment and coding both the smart contracts and front-end user interface for our reward coin environment.

Day Three was probably the most hectic with parts of the team practising and fine-tuning the presentation whilst others were scrambling to fix last minute issues.

How could you implement your learnings in future projects?

The process allowed more team members to become blockchain developers through knowledge sharing. This will really assist the company in our future commercial blockchain solutions. We also plan to work with management to finalise the rules of the game which will define the rewards on offer and then implement our internal reward coin company-wide.

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FUN FACT about your team or the hackathon experience

When everyone first chose their hackathon team we ended up with almost every developer and no sales, support or business staff. We had to make some team adjustments to ensure both teams could work effectively :-).

Q&A with Meryl Gibbs

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Brief outline of your project

Our team developed a freight controlled cash price optimisation tool to allow grain growers to pick the best sites for them to deliver.

Taking daily cash price data in the AgriDigital platform, we built an algorithm that calculated the cost of delivering grain to each location (using a Google Maps integration) and factored the freight cost into the cash price offered. Essentially, a grower could then input the amount and grade of grain they want to deliver, and then receive personalised, real time results on the sites and buyers currently offering the best cash price for them.

What were you looking to solve?

We wanted to improve the process a growers goes through when choosing a cash price — growers can sometimes spend hours on the phone talking to buyers to work out the best cash prices offered that day. By automating the process, we can make their lives a bit easier by saving them precious time and effort.

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What process did you and your team follow?

We started off with a team brainstorm on our initial idea, coming up with lots of variations around what the user experience could be. We then identified the most useful, bite sized product we could create in three days.

From there, we delved into the pain points and needs of the specific use case. We created some control data, planned the backend logic and front end user experience. By the end of Day One the devs were tackling the code. They created an awesome algorithm, a new front end functionality, and integrated with Google Maps in record time.

We continued to investigate some questions we had about the user’s wants, and validated our assumptions over the course of the hackathon. We were also eating perpetually…the bowls of treats were never full for very long.

At the beginning of Day Two, we made final tweaks to the code, and focused on making the final pitch deck.

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How could you implement your learnings in future projects?

Although what we built is not currently in production, we are now working on how we can develop it to be client polished and ready! We think what we built could be the first step to implementing optimisation or Google Maps integration products for other users. There are a lot of cool things we can do to further help our customers better manage their businesses using the logic, UX, and algorithms we built in the hackathon.

FUN FACT about your team or the hackathon experience

We had a bit of fun with the competitive spirit of the hackathon. The opposing team lead (Hi, Dom!) would often come into our war room for a bit of (dis)couragement, and we ended up in a .gif battle when he infiltrated our team Slack Channel.

It was a great few days and the teams’ incredible effort prevented the judges from selecting a winner, resulting in a well deserved draw. We look forward to tackling more hackathons throughout the year.