“I think the Hackathon concept is universal,” said Kevin Steele, Cars.com VP of Technology. “Throughout the history of business, we’ve always looked for ways to let employees share their ideas. It started with the suggestion box.”
Over three days of intense collaboration, more than 70 employees at Cars.com headquarters worked together to share ideas and develop innovative solutions to benefit both dealers and consumers during the second-annual Cars.com employee Hackathon. Representing members from across the entire organization, from product development and marketing to training and sales, 15 teams joined forces to pitch their new concepts, which ranged from mobile solutions to help dealers better manage their Cars.com account to innovative ways for consumers to communicate with dealers.
After multiple rounds of competition, a diverse group of senior leaders, including Steele, crowned three winners: “Team YOHO! (You Only Hack Once),” “Team Hack-a-Shaq” and “Team Candide.”
Not all the pitches will come to life online, but many ideas will be used to guide the evolution of the site and products in the coming year.
“We’ve got people in our organization that are excited to make the business better,” said Steele. “Teams were conscious of our value proposition from both a dealer and consumer perspective, and it was great to see the ideas that surfaced because of it.“
As Kevin suggests, the collaboration and creative thinking that come from a Hackathon are scalable to any organization. By simply asking your team for feedback and being open to new ideas, there’s no limit to the innovation you can bring to your dealership.