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500 Hackers Compete in McDonald’s 24-Hour Global Hackathon

January 8, 2020

McDonald's Global Technology Hackathon hackers

For 24 hours in late October, in eight cities across the globe, McDonald’s hosted its second annual Hackathon. Almost 500 hackers came together, with participants from across McDonald’s and Dynamic Yield, in addition to participants from strategic providers Capgemini, Cognizant, and Sapient.

The goal was simple: to solve for complexities within the business and innovate for the future of the brand.

“The Hackathon is important because McDonald’s is about innovation,” says Daniel Henry, McDonald’s Global Chief Information Officer. “…It’s about getting outside the box, thinking about our problems differently, collaborating with people you may not collaborate with to really solve real-world problems. It draws out our best talent, from McDonald’s and our partners. I’m proud of the partnership we have with Capgemini, who co-hosts this event with us, and teams with us globally to help create experiences our customers want to use.”

During this year’s Hackathon, 75 teams located in 7 different countries developed innovative solutions across three different categories: Restaurants, Corporate Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The results were remarkable. The winning team in the Corporate Social Responsibility or “Scale for Good” category, for instance, created an AI-powered smart bin solution and incorporated a reward scheme to optimize the quantity and quality of recycling.

It’s very possible that some Hackathon solutions will turn into real-life projects at McDonald’s, Daniel Henry says. Judging by the energy and enthusiasm of this year’s participants, the Hack-a-thon represented a chance to foster a culture of innovation, and is a key element to making McDonald’s a place people want to work.

“It’s amazing to see what teams can do in 24 hours. My team consisted of women from across the business who met for the first time the day of the event,” says Vanessa Pierce, a McDonald’s employee who participated as a hacker. “Each of us brought our unique strengths to create a solution to improve the employee experience – something that we were each, individually, passionate about.”

Watch a recap of the 2019 Hackathon below. Interested in participating as an employee next year? Check out the McDonald’s Careers webpage and apply for a job at McDonald’s.