Hackovations: living our value of Limitless Minds
At 84.51°, we are constantly seeking ways to drive innovation for our customers and partners – both with The Kroger Co. and over 1,200 consumer-packaged-goods clients. This comes in the form of new products, like 84.51° Stratum, and capabilities, like Start My Cart. However, 84.51° is unique in the fact that these ideas don’t have to start at the c-suite level… they can originate from any associate.
Many are familiar with the concept of hackathons. But imagine having a convergence of minds from across the business – from recent grads to c-suite executives, marketing gurus to data science nerds – all with one goal in mind: making people’s lives easier. That’s what happens at an 84.51° Hackovation.
These quarterly events have been held virtually since summer 2021, and encourage associates of 84.51° and Kroger to participate, regardless of business function. While engineers have made up a majority of the participants, many winning teams have embraced the cross-functional concept.
“Hackovation allows you to energize and maximize your inner geek by allowing people to collaborate and in other areas outside of their normal function,” said VP of Engineering Nisha Bhatt. “We believe that our people have amazing talent and have the ability to solve challenges in innovative ways.”
Teams submit their ideas prior to the event to help consolidate teams working on similar ideas and allow for adequate time for presentations. After the judges – comprised of 84.51° associates from varying levels across the business – select the winning concepts, an executive sponsor is assigned, and decisions are made around how to carry the initiative forward.
“Some ideas caused a pivot in direction for some STIP (Short Term Incentive Plan) initiatives, some got attention and were picked up by Kroger’s Innovations team. Some have been prioritized and will be worked on eventually but didn’t rise to the level on those teams to supplant other work,” Nisha said.
So, what ideas have come to fruition and potentially have impacted you? Here are a couple that rose to the top.
Eliminate the need for planning and budgeting with Kroger Instinct – an automated grocery delivery service that combines user purchase history with a new pantry service that analyzes the time between purchases of products to estimate when a shopper might need to replenish them. After generating an order, the system will automatically submit the predicted order for fulfillment, unless the shopper modifies it prior to sending.
84.51° Stratum API
Improve the user experience of our analytics self-serve solution (84.51° Stratum) Scheduled Reports feature by streamlining the process of exporting custom client reports into Excel. The current process for getting data from a Scheduled Report into Excel requires a client user to download the data from 84.51° Stratum and import it into Excel. 84.51° Stratum API will provide access to the results of that Scheduled Report by allowing the client to embed a web query in their Excel workbook that will pull the data from 84.51° Stratum directly into Excel. Client users will be able to update all such web queries easily, eliminating the cumbersome chore of downloading and importing data into workbooks.