Kisi culture

Hack week reflections: Unlocking innovation, one idea at a time

Read the first part of Kisi’s ‘Hack Week Reflections’ series. Enjoy insider access from the product documentation writer’s perspective.

5 min reading time

An image of 4 Kisi employees in Kisi's Stockholm office during hack week

Updated on February 19, 2024

Written by Katalin Haverinen-Varga

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What the hack?

What would I, as a product documentation writer, be working on during a hack week? And how will I manage a full week in an office, considering I have been working remotely for the past three years? Last month, I stepped off a crowded tram in Stockholm with these questions in my head. It turns out the hack week has a lot to offer, regardless of one's role, and the office worker in me is still very much alive, just needing a little nudge to wake up.

Kisi hack week = innovation and fun

Kisi hosts two hack weeks each year, one in summer and one in winter. During these weeks, our entire Product team sets aside their daily tasks to focus on new, creative, and innovative projects that could benefit our customers in the future. Additionally, with half of the team working remotely from locations spanning from Argentina to India, this is a fantastic opportunity to bring everyone together, to meet people we otherwise only see on the screen, and, of course, finally discover how tall your coworkers actually are. :D

A photo of Kisi employees during the Jenga challenge during the Stockholm hack week

Go ahead, hack the office!

The theme of this year's summer hack week, held at the end of August, was Hack the office. Why? Kisi had recently moved to a new office, and we wanted to ensure that we fully embraced our own technology to enhance day-to-day work, make hanging out in this space more fun, and, of course, ensure the safety of the office. Here are some of the projects the teams worked on:

  • An app that allows employees to set a background song for their office entry
  • An emergency stop button for quickly locking down the space
  • An emergency roll call list for admins to verify the safety of present users
  • Building a small elevator using Kisi

Of course, it wasn't mandatory to follow the theme. Teams were free to work on projects that would benefit the product in general. Some of the less theme-focused projects included:

  • An improved method to explore Kisi products using augmented reality (AR)
  • Implementing Google Assistant integration for opening Kisi
  • Adding CarPlay support to the Kisi app

Work hard, play hard

On the first morning, we assembled teams, set goals for the week, and the actual work began. For my team, this involved brainstorming use cases, writing Node.js scripts, setting up servers, creating the web app, and the necessary database, testing, and then demoing our small application. Some other teams were tinkering with hardware and exploring AR technology, while others were attempting to get Google Assistant to understand them. It was truly inspiring to witness how project teams, regardless of their size, collaborated seamlessly, resembling fully equipped IT teams.

However, we also made sure not to take ourselves too seriously. Therefore, every afternoon, the teams played some fun team games together, such as:

  • Who can build the tallest Jenga tower?
  • Who can construct the tallest tower using spaghetti and marshmallows?
  • Whose paper airplane can fly the farthest?

If you think any of these tasks are easy, think again. :)

An image showing Kisi's product documentation writer during the hack week paper airplane challenge

Any plans for the evening?

And before I forget: since we were in Stockholm, we made sure to enjoy the city as much as possible. Some of us took the Djurgården Ferry and explored the Djurgården island, while others attended a concert at the Tradgarden club and enjoyed great food at restaurants with amazing views like the one below:

A Stockholm landscape showing Djurgården

See you next year

This year’s hack week at Kisi is a wrap. My top three highlights of the week? Collaborating with my teammates, experiencing the office environment, and engaging with people from different cultures. I will definitely participate in the next hack week, and I highly recommend it to you too. The energy and creativity that flow during this week are truly inspiring. In the meantime, if you're interested in joining our dynamic team, check out our job openings and see you there!

Experience the Kisi Hack Week from a different perspective

  • Read the second part of Kisi’s ‘Hack Week Reflections’ series – Hacking the office with music and announcements. Enjoy insider access from the web developer’s perspective.
  • Dive into the history of Hack Week through the lens of the Hardware Teamlead.
  • Discover how three Kisi music aficionados worked on an app that allows employees to access the office with their favorite theme song during hack week. Read the 'Kisi elevating office vibes with customized entrance music' blog.
  • Explore the second part of our Kisi's summer hack week project series. Take a closer look at our emergency button project, which would enable Kisi users to lock down an entire premise.
  • Take a stroll down memory lane and read about the summer edition of the 2022 Hack Week, where 20 team members from over seven countries gathered in Gålö, Sweden.

Katalin Haverinen-Varga

Product documentation writer with a passion to translate technical features into customer value.

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