From the world’s first blue jeans to the latest F.L.X. laser technology, Levi Strauss & Co. strives to be at the forefront of innovation.
Last weekend, our direct-to-consumer team hosted its third annual hackathon, where employees from IT, Product and Business joined forces to push the limits of what is possible at LS&Co. Twenty-one teams at our headquarters and overseas were tasked with devising creative solutions around the company’s direct-to-consumer strategy – which involves delivering a seamless omnichannel experience and driving efficiency – backed by working code.
“To differentiate us from other competitors, that’s where innovation really comes into play,” said Jimmy Somarajan, manager with our Direct to Consumer IT team. “We always been known as the company that invented the blue jean, but we are always striving to achieve the next great thing.”
For participants, the event is a chance to ditch their daily routine and show off their skills.
“This is an opportunity for every employee – if they want to do something and it’s not a roadmap item for the company – to showcase and build something that they want Levi’s® to do,” said Puja Agrawal, principal product manager of LS&Co. “[The hackathon] gives me an opportunity to hack and innovate and present the ideas that in my day-to-day work at LS&Co. I can’t do.”
Teams presented their projects to a panel of senior leaders, with the top three receiving medals and first place winners snagging their choice of a Levi’s® customization product. But, like every year, the ultimate prize is to have their hack be implemented in the global business. Past projects that have come to life include the online cancellation option for consumers and Levi’s® customization at levi.com.
Of course, the hackathon is more than just cranking out code and collecting prizes – it’s about cultivating a culture of innovation within LS&Co.
“While the end result should focus on a functional software application, the creative problem solving and teamwork involved is by far the biggest takeaway,” said Quinn Mefford, product manager of global ecommerce at LS&Co. and one of the event organizers. “We’d like the participants to continue this thought process long after the event ends.”
“Our capabilities are only limited by our imagination, our ability to think different and our determination to bring it to life,” he said.