Life at Wizeline

Innovation Camp 2021: Creating Opportunities for Wizeliners to Think Outside the Box

Innovation Camp 2021: Creating Opportunities for Wizeliners to Think Outside the Box

At Wizeline, innovation is one of our core values, helping us improve our creativity, efficiency, effectiveness, and competitive advantage to ensure the best results for our customers. To bring the best out of our Wizeliners and help spur innovation, we hold an annual Innovation Camp. Read on to explore how it works, learn about some of the projects, and discover this year’s winners!

How It Works

In 2020, we launched the inaugural Innovation Camp as an annual, in-house initiative to boost ideation, exploration, and experimentation. The idea of the camp is to have many multidisciplinary teams contributing to new or existing Wizeline projects. We encourage Wizeliners with exciting and fresh ideas or those who would like to experiment with new tech or tools to participate.

We have a period of registration for teams and after the opening ceremony, we allow a couple of weeks to work asynchronously on their projects. Participating Wizeliners form teams with a minimum of three people to work through the following deliverables:

  • Essay: An introductory essay to explain the idea behind the project and describe the features. This document should answer the following questions:
    – What is the issue that the project is trying to solve?
    – How will you accomplish this goal?
  • Mockup Demo Submission: If applicable, teams are required to submit a basic visual prototype of the future app. This is useful to test the core concepts and provide clarity. It can be a basic functioning application, a design mockup using Invision, or even a napkin drawing.
  • Project Submission: This should include the team members and describe what each member contributed to the project. If applicable, it should also link to the repository with the README file following an Open Source template. Finally, the team should add a pitch video showcasing the participants’ process and accomplishments and outlining the project’s features and functionality through a comprehensive demo.

Projects are judged by experts on specific criteria, and winning teams are rewarded with cash prizes.

In the first cohort in 2020, we had 17 exciting and thought-provoking submissions from teams across the company. We realized that it was a great way to bring Wizeliners together and foster collaboration and creativity across the company, so we decided to bring it back this year to see what our always-innovative Wizeliners would come up with.

Innovation Camp Merch

I've always loved Wizeline's flexible and open culture, where suggestions to improve a process are welcome, especially if you want to scratch an itch and give it a try on solving it yourself or with the help of other Wizeliners. The Innovation Camp is an effort to foster that same culture as a geographically distributed company and bring together people to keep improving."

Joaquin Bravo Contreras

Wizeline Software Engineer & Co-organizer of Innovation Camp

Innovation Camp 2021 Teams & Projects

We recently concluded Innovation Camp 2021 — another amazing event with incredible results. The suggested theme for this year’s camp was “Education,” so Wizeliners came up with ideas to make teaching and learning better. Because the theme was only a suggestion, we had teams working on diverse ideas and even a group from Innovation Camp 2020 who worked on improving their existing project.

Let’s take a look at some of the projects:

  1. Wizepace (pronounced Wize-space): A tool allowing Wizeliners to book desks in different offices or locations. It also helps the Facilities team maximize our workspace’s use and comply with health and safety regulations.
  2. Fuzzy Search for Staffing: A tool to match engineers with projects using educated guesses to find similar profiles when an exact skill match is not found.
  3. Houzeline: An application where Wizeliners can search any property according to specific criteria from a centralized dataset of properties gathered from multiple listing sites.
  4. WizeRunner: An online fitness platform that enables personal and team running challenges. Users’ data is automatically synced via Strava or built-in apps such as Apple Health and Google Fit so that people can use the platform with their phones or smartwatches.
  5. Calladium: A website that helps Spanish-speaking non-technical-savvy writers and students learn how to use LaTeX and Overleaf for their writing projects.
  6. Sede: An easy-to-use web application where users answer a brief questionnaire based on the functionalities of their project. The app returns the security concerns that could be present in the project.
  7. Sorting Cat: A platform where Wizeliners can browse all the existing communities and send a request to join. Community Champions can also manage their community information and see all the people within it.
  8. Connecting Teachers: Wizdom: A platform enabling teachers to offer classes, share their wisdom, and connect with students and people who want to learn, all over the world.
  9. ProjectLab: A platform where Wizeliners can share proposals, ideas, projects, or solutions and vote on the ones that could have a broader benefit.
  10. ERC20 Token Tool: A platform to remove the technical barrier of token generation and make the process easy, accessible, and efficient for users of all levels.
  11. Shelp: An application to find missing persons by utilizing social media to get the general public involved in the search. Shelp’s goal is to empower the general public to assist in the search by providing reliable data on the missing persons.
  12. Sigmatch: A source of true talent among the IT community. The ultimate goal is to connect innovative software engineering talent with companies while providing value to our users/collaborators’ career paths through mentorship, empathy, creativeness, and social interaction.

Innovation Camp team logos and screenshots

And the Winners are…

The Innovation Camp closing ceremony was held on August 12, 2021. There, judges voted for their favorite participating teams and announced winners for the following categories:

Top Categories

  • Outstanding idea/problem to solve: 
    • Winner: Connecting Teachers: Wizdom
    • Honorable mention: Houzeline
  • Outstanding solution to improve Wizeline: 
    • Winner: Wizepace
    • Honorable mention: Fuzzy Search for Staffing
  • Outstanding work done by a multidisciplinary team: 
    • Winner: Wizepace
    • Honorable mention: Connecting Teachers: Wizdom
  • Outstanding pitch/presentation: 
    • Winner: Connecting Teachers: Wizdom
    • Honorable mention: Wizepace

Other Categories

  • Outstanding work done by a multi-region team: ProjectLab
  • Outstanding documentation: Calladium
  • Outstanding UX: WizeRunner
  • Outstanding Data project: Fuzzy Search for Staffing
  • Outstanding DevOps: Calladium
  • Outstanding code quality: Wizerunner
  • Outstanding work done reviving an existing/inactive project: Wizepace
  • People’s Choice Award: Wizepace

Congratulations to all the winners! 🎉 We hope to continue to foster a culture of innovation and creativity at Wizeline, and we’re confident events like Innovation Camp will have a big impact in the years to come.

As part of the Facilities team, it was especially interesting for me to be part of Innovation Camp. It was an incredible experience, from the definition of the problem to working so closely with the Engineers, UX, Technical Writing, PM, Architects; everyone contributed immensely. It was indeed a collaborative team. Now, I feel I have a better understanding of what they do every day, and it's fantastic to be able to be part of such an important project. Wizepace will change the way we interact with our office space.”

Gabriela Gutierrez

Wizeline Senior Facilities Manager & Member of Wizepace Team

Aisha Owolabi

Posted by Aisha Owolabi on August 26, 2021