The recipe for winning Tech? 40 hours, 40 people, 40 experts...and passion!

blue-infinity Linked by Isobar’s #TechChallenge2017 offered participants the opportunity to develop a real project from scratch, guided by blue-infinity mentors. The goal? To show off technical skills, teamwork and innovation. The prize? An internship at blue-infinity, with runner-up taking entry into the blue-infinity Ambassador Programme.

A unique event in format, innovation, and prize offer, the event ran in partnership with University of Coimbra and BEST, who promote the development of technical skills and expertise in Europe wide engineering competitions.

Teams entered online and were preselected based on their level of diversity across (1) technical expertise, (2) course of study/degree program, and (3) motivation. This ensured a balanced selection with maximum potential for a diverse range of solutions from participants.

Ten teams arrived by coach in Lisbon on Friday 24th November, welcomed at blue-infinity offices by employees to a warm reception. From 10pm, the competition began, some contestants wearing pyjamas and warm socks to push through the first night.

blue-infinity, linked by Isobar, Portugal Country Manager, Jorge Conceicao, expressed warmly that, “The event brought out the best in all of us, above all a passion for digital and teamwork.. two things we cannot do without, in order to be successful. We thank the students and our team for their dedication.”

Saturday packed in a full day with a flurry of coding, keyboards and minds in overdrive, with over 40 blue-infinity mentors engaged and on-hand to assist peripatetically over 40 hours, the equivalent of a working week. ‘Mid-week’ we held a team meeting where teams revealed their first scratch of the project to the mentors. The idea was to give more guidance to the teams as this first pitch was very important to get right for the next phase.

Mentor Ivo Alexandre, a .Net expert, talks about the feeling amongst the teams, “As you would expect the blue-infinity TechChallenge was a successful event, and something we are passionate about. As a mentor, seeing the team commitment was a privilege and showed how people embraced our company spirit. Congratulations to all teams and best of luck.”

Sunday was the final push, with the teams of four people delivering their projects and presenting them to the jury, a panel comprised of three experts from the fields of Programming, Management and Leadership. The solutions ranged from Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, personality testing, to gaming and 3D.  The closing ceremony was a chance for everybody to reflect on the last 40 hours and listen to the semi-finalists.

The prize winners

First prize was awarded to "Unexpected Token" for Pixel-Perfect, a 2D 4x4 matrix model of individual profiles which stacks to a 3D representation of the entire team, and to the company level and so on, with “floating pixels” to reveal team relationships in social and professional connections and evolution in soft and technical skills. Teams can share points to evaluate projects sprints and recognise others with badges for helping them, in order to stack the ‘perfect pixel’.

Runner-up prize went to "rIoTers” for their gamification tool, Gimi, which helps with project optimisation. Employees can build up within the game a profile of their skills, personal traits, and according to these characteristics and time availability they will be selected for a project (or not!), based on a machine learning algorithm to optimise team selection.

Participant Madalena Cardoso talks about her experience, “It was amazing to see the amount of blue-infinity staff ready to help, support and laugh with us, no matter what our idea was or how little we knew about some technical subjects. When I went home, my heart was leaping with joy. Thank you for being the people that inspire me to chase my dreams!”

Bruno Fuzeiro, Co-organiser and Developer reflects on the passion amongst the students, “This was an amazing experience to share, 40 hours with such bright minds. The students surpassed my expectations with their ideas and sharing our culture and expertise during this weekend was a true privilege. We’ve created strong ties with the students and we look forward to more collaborations with BEST and the University of Coimbra.”

Joao Figueiredo, Co-organiser and Talent Finder for Portugal describes how everybody was a winner, “This was a fantastic event where our company values could help guide an influential group of new and excited talent. The true winners are all the amazing, dedicated, devoted, enthusiastic and passionate people involved.”

Catarina Vaz, Portugal Facilities Manager was impressed by the young talent, ”Participants quickly understood our culture at blue-infinity and easily got along with our mentors. They were mature and respectful despite their young age and many expressed their desire to work with us in the future.”

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About the author

kirk havelock
Kirk Havelock

Kirk drives internal and external communications according to company goals, ambition, values and culture, to support objectives throughout Dentsu Aegis Network.