What happens when over 3,000 employees globally spend a week innovating and reimagining the eBay experience? Magic! This is the word eBay’s Director of Innovation Programs, Nousheen Eslambolchi, uses to describe Hack Week.
Hack Week is eBay’s annual week-long program aimed to cultivate new ideas and disrupt ecommerce.
Thousands of employees at 10 global offices spent a week ideating ways to redefine what it means to sell and shop on eBay.
During the time away from their desks, teams of employees took part in brainstorming sessions, learned from subject matter experts and received around-the-clock mentoring throughout the week.
In a race to the top, teams worked to develop their most innovative concepts, pitched their ideas and showed their working prototypes to a panel of judges at the end of the week.
“Hack Week brings all of our innovators, engineers, scientists and product people together to collaborate and bring the best ideas to light on technological advancement, product advancement and even process advancement. This is a place where the best minds of eBay come together to take us into the future.”
Sanjeev Katariya, Chief Architect, VP eBay AI and Platforms
Employees innovate and collaborate
“When employees come together to innovate, and there are no organizational boundaries, vertically or horizontally, they deliver amazing value to our customers while having a great time. Hack Week allows employees to optimize for impact and maximize productivity.”
Nousheen Eslambolchi, eBay’s Director of Innovation Programs
The format of the program not only fosters collaboration across organizations, but also empowers employees to work on projects they are passionate about.
eBay Hack Week teams continue to develop their projects in preparation for the annual Innovation Expo in the fall, where they will compete to move their ideas through production.
“Hack Week is an entire ecosystem of people, ideas and resources that help an inventor take their idea from inception to delivery and execution.”
Ethan Rubinson, Senior Software Engineer and Innovations Programs Technical Lead
Rubinson, who won the Innovation Rotation Award in 2015 for his project on charitable giving, received the opportunity to step away from his job for four months to build out his idea.
His project Gifts That Give Back is now one of the many programs and applications live on the eBay marketplace.
Image Search started as Hack Week project
Another project that started as a Hack Week project is Image Search.
In 2017, after spending two more years developing the original idea, it launched on eBay to make finding products easier.
eBay was the first major marketplace to implement image search. The marketplace has continued to improve the function as especially mobile shoppers looking for fashion items benefit the most from the visual search feature.