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Imagination, innovation, and digital transformation — everyone wins with Le Code to France

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Creating the space for innovation to flourish

How do we keep innovation alive at Dimension Data? By tapping in to the imaginations of 30,000 people across the globe.

Take Le Code to France, a Dimension Data project where employees competed to develop the next innovation for enhancing fan engagement. We were blown away by the quality and variety of entries received, from bots and algorithms to virtual reality visualisations.

But our innovation race had started long before Le Code to France saw the light of day.

Winners of Le Code to France will be flown to France to be at the finish line of the race this year

For the last four years, our research and development teams have set aside two days a month to work on innovation only, collaborating on a specific client problem. We’ve found this to be an invaluable part of our R&D process and about 18 months ago decided to extend our innovation efforts with the launch of Learn to Code, an inner-sourcing initiative that allows employees to share and access code stored on a common platform. The aim is to bring an open source and innovation mindset to the organisation. By removing barriers to collaboration, we can develop the skills we need to move with the market and transform the organisation.

The Learn to Code site allows Dimension Data employees to share, reuse and build on code written by our developers across the globe

Le Code to France showcases the ‘latest of the latest’

Le Code to France was an opportunity to run a global inner-sourcing project for all Dimension Data employees using a really big drawcard: the chance to develop something new that would capture the imagination of fans and followers of the Tour de France.

We helped to orchestrate teams across regions and disciplines, including Marketing and Product Development. The rules were simple, as we didn’t want to limit the flow of ideas: entries had to include a presentation and a prototype, and teams had to clearly demonstrate how their submission would engage viewers. To make sure our final selection was the right one, we asked representatives from A.S.O. to sit on the adjudicating panel.

Latest technologies

Submissions covered a range of technologies, from a bot that could interrogate a data set to answer questions about what’s happening in the race, to a voice API that integrates with Amazon’s Alexa to get similar information.

One team used virtual reality technology to project a full-colour 3D rendering of a stage of the race on a coffee table. Another developed an algorithm that uses recurring behavioural patterns in the race, such as how the peloton behaves when there’s a crosswind, to predict what’s likely to happen next in a live race situation. You can imagine the potential this has to liven up live race commentary!

Le Code to France submissions applied creativity to the latest technologies, with outstanding results

The winning team developed a fantasy cycling game, which, based on similar applications in other sports, has significant potential to engage fans in a whole new way, and we’re now looking at how we can get this developed for A.S.O.in the coming years.

Latest talent

Le Code to France delivered some incredible results for Dimension Data. Not only do we have some fantastic intellectual property we can put straight back into our platforms but, by investing in next-generation skills, we’re also able to attract and retain the talent we (and our clients) need in a rapidly changing market.

We also discovered innovation in unexpected places – like the accountant who’s really into 3D visualisations for gaming. This is where we really see the power of inner-sourcing and the value it can deliver to our clients.

Latest ideas

One of the most valuable aspects of Le Code to France was being able to give A.S.O. access to a global community of creative and technical talent, most of whom represent the demographic they want to attract as viewers. Their ideas were therefore completely in line with the expectations of A.S.O.’s target audience.

From innovation to implementation

The campaign brought together four important themes for us as an organisation: innovation, inner-sourcing, skills transformation, and the customer experience. It was absolutely incredible to see what came out of this campaign: of the 13 submissions we received, there’s something we can use from each, either for A.S.O. directly, or in our own managed services environment.  

The prize for the winners is a trip to France to watch the last stage of the race. For us and for our client, race organisers Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.), the rewards are significant and far-reaching. From this single initiative, we now have a mass of innovation that we can bring to A.S.O. and the Tour de France … and it’s going to be awesome to see where that takes us both as we continue exploring the potential of digital transformation.

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