Every quarter, our engineers get to 24 hours to work on anything they want related to Atlassian with the aim of shipping a functional product. We call these innovation days ShipIt Days. We’ve run nineteen ShipIt Days total, with over 550 projects presented since our inaugural event. And in November 2011, we launched a campaign to put on a ShipIt Day for another company – beer, trophies, and ShipIt Experts supplied by us.
We held a call for entries to our ShipIt Day campaign for only one month and, man, did you guys answer! Almost 150 companies – including JBoss, HP, NASA, and HSBC – chimed in to tell us why they would love to run a ShipIt Day. Our team combed through some great stories, but one really stood out from the rest.
We’re excited to announce that the winner of Atlassian’s very first external ShipIt Day is….
Nintendo of America.
Nintendo is a worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, having sold more than 3.9 billion video games and 620 million hardware units globally – including the Wii and Nintendo 3DS – and created some of our most beloved video game icons, like Mario, Metroid, and Donkey Kong.
Whether we were ruining our eyes playing on our Game Boys, spending hours at a time reuniting the Triforce, or even using Mario Kart to spark some romance, we knew we could rely on Nintendo’s creations to stoke our imaginations (seriously, the way the Duck Hunt gun worked? Brilliant).
Dave Tempero, Director of the Infrastructure and Operations teams at Nintendo, hit us up with a compelling story of why a ShipIt Day could help his teams reignite their creativity while having fun. “Since I first read about ShipIt days,” he wrote, “I’ve realized that would be a good way to spark the creativity I know is within my teams. The benefits to my company however are really just the by products of a much more important change – the spark of excitement and commitment that comes when people are working on projects that they are excited about and fully vested in.”
We’re all psyched to see what an Atlassian-Nintendo partnership can bring, and you’ll see it too when we bring ShipIt Day to their headquarters in April 2012!
Though we’ll be sending our ShipIt Experts to Redmond, Washington to work with the Nintendo team, we had a solid group of runner-up entries that are definitely worth mentioning. Here are the stories behind some of our top runners-up:
Hasbro: “I’m a Creative”
Hasbro, Inc. is a US toy and board game company in a truly fast-paced industry. Their need to constantly keep up with pop culture and answer to some of the hardest-to-please audiences out there—children!—means that they’re hyper-focused on innovation best practices. Their entry caught our eye when they described their own ShipIt-like events: a Grand Idea fair, the Bring Out Your Dead event, and an Inspiration Expo. Sounds like they might be able to teach us something about staying innovative.
You can see from their I’m a Creative video that they have a great approach to mixing work and play, something we try to capture here at Atlassian, too. Also, their offices are decked out with cool toys—unsurprising, but still pretty awesome.
If there’s a place where established industry and innovation efforts are butting heads, it’s in the energy sector. Infinite Energy is a natural gas company on the East Coast of the US that caught our eye with an anecdote about a developer team gone rogue, building a feature out of the current scope of their application. Their manager’s reaction, which she outlined in her entry, resonated with us:
“When did I forget what lures us to programming in the first place? We experience a rush of self-satisfaction when we are able to solve a problem using our code. It isn’t like solving a crossword puzzle – it’s more like world domination. We take pride in what we do and take offense when a deadline forces us to rush and deliver something less than brilliant. We sometimes enjoy the pursuit of a deliverable more than the victory of shipping it at the end. Above all else, we are tinkerers and inventors. Somewhere along the way from my transition from Developer to Manager, I forgot that every once in a while you wish you did not have that meticulously detailed specification in front of you.“
Symantec.cloud, a division of Symantec, is a company in Gloucester, England that provides cloud-based security and management platforms. They’d discovered the ShipIt idea when it was originally covered, under its previous name “[redacted] Days”, in Dan Pink’s book, Drive, and, like rockstars, pulled off their own ShipIt Day event in December 2011 just using our FAQ. And Jimmy Larkin, ShipIt advocate extraordinaire, didn’t just run it—he even blogged extensively about it:
“Once we started I was in awe. We actually did it! One idea was not completed and one presenter was called to an urgent issue but that didn’t change the fact. We did it, and we did it damn well. Over the next two hours I’ve seen things that blew my mind. I think everyone, not just me, was totally astounded by effects of just one day. From ten ideas presented four or five were ready to immediate implementation.
It’s been now two weeks since we finished our first ShipIt Day. It was the best experience I had in this place, if not the best ever. I restored my faith in people and innovation and I’ve seen power of motivation.”
More to come
Congrats to everyone who applied. Thank you for sharing your stories with us! We’ll be covering our ShipIt Day with Nintendo extensively, so look out for more posts about how the event unfolds.
We may be running this ShipIt Day for Nintendo, but you can run a ShipIt Day at your own company, too! For advice straight from people who have also done one themselves, check out the ShipIt Day LinkedIn Group and Atlassian’s own ShipIt Day FAQ.