Innovation at Social Tables

The key to keeping Social Tables competitive is being able to come up with new ideas to keep operations, products and services fresh. We dedicate two weeks out of the year to brainstorm and execute new ideas that can benefit our customers. Here’s a look at what our engineering team set out to accomplish in our latest innovation sprint.

Q&A with Dan Dombrowsky, our POC for the Innovation Sprint.

What is the Innovation Sprint?

The Innovation Sprint is different things to different people.  For the Engineers, it’s a time to try out new technologies and development methodologies without any impediments.  For the company it’s a time to dream a little and see what’s over the next hilltop, a time to look beyond the current product roadmap and think about what the future could be.  Basically it’s a two week event where we make innovating new things a priority above all else.

What was the objective of it?

There are multiple objectives, but in the interest of brevity, here’s one: Social Tables has a Vivid Vision document that guides where we want to be in the next few years.  It includes things like robotics and machine learning that we don’t currently do or have much experience in.  That expertise don’t come for free.  Setting up engineers for that kind of work requires allowing them time to build experience.  This event allows them to do that in a fun, low-risk but competitive environment.

What was the process for it?

There was a lot of planning and work from everyone involved.  The projects and teams were decided well ahead of time, complete with team leads and basic objectives chosen.  The teams were given two uninterrupted weeks to work on their projects, and a one week period to polish and create their presentation while taking their normal work on again.  It culminated in a company-wide event for teams to present their projects and be judged by a panel of Social Tables leaders.

What departments were involved?

All of them! Engineers were the actual participants.  Product helped plan the projects. Product, Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, and People helped judge the projects.

When?

The first two weeks of August. There’s never going to be a perfect time, so we figured there’s no time like the present!

The Innovation Sprint ended with a presentation to Tablers and the executive team provided feedback on the different projects. It was a great occasion and opened our minds to what is possible!

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