Accelerating innovation: Thermo Fisher’s hackathon
As one of the world’s leading firms in science and technology, Thermo Fisher believes in putting innovation at the forefront of everything they do. To set themselves apart, they combine their renowned research methods with a daring sense of discovery.
It’s no secret that hackathons are commonly utilized by scrappy startups to push engineers to the brink in sprints. However, this model is less common in large corporations with established histories such as Thermo Fisher. So three years ago, they decided to take a page from startup playbook and start their very own annual two-day hackathon to celebrate the ability of their employees to constantly explore new territory and create groundbreaking technology.
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The hackathon has now become a highly anticipated company tradition for taking a dedicated approach to achieve rapid results. From genetic sequencing for cancer research, to exploring the microbes that make food supply chains safe, Thermo Fisher selects the most pressing issue each year to try and solve in their corporate hackathon. To provide the environment necessary to spark inspiration, this year’s event was hosted in a historic venue with a cozy vibe.
“Thermo Fisher is a world-leader in serving science, with more than 55,000 employees all over the world. Our mission is to make our customers healthier, cleaner, and safer,” says Puneet Suri, Senior Director of Software Engineering. “In the office we get caught up in our everyday work, we get into having regular meetings. Sometimes just getting out of the office and breaking that routine is what it takes to start thinking about innovation,” adds David Woo, director of Algorithm Development.
Their two-day hackathon allowed developers to break away from their day-to-day and focus on holistic solutions for big opportunities. In a whirlwind forty-eight hour period 30 employees came together to tackle some of their customer’s most pressing challenges. “Every group here has an amazing idea and within two days they will build those ideas into amazing prototypes,” says Suri. “These will have significant impact on our customer’s experience and how they use our platform.”