To kick the year off, OLX decided to open the floor to something new. In January, Arianne David, our Head of Culture and Values, invited the whole OLX team to the office’s social area to introduce the first ever OLX Growth Hackers.
In the next few weeks, team members were to research and execute ideas that could potentially drive growth in the company goals. The instructions were simple: members were to pitch their individual idea (no matter how simple or wild it was), gather a team of 3-5 to back it up, and research and experiment on its feasibility and effectiveness. The winning team would win a special prize, but with awards also given to the Best Idea, Best Execution, and Best Output.
“The idea…came up during the last Team Sportsfest when I had small talks with RJ about our observations on how the team members and different teams were being team players, competitive, and tactical to win,” said Arianne, “I thought that it would be nice if we can convey the same play at the workplace by doing a company activity that will contribute to the growth of the company.”
But this activity went beyond looking for solutions amongst team members. What it wanted to highlight to the members even more was the practice of several OLX core values: agile innovation (continuous experiments), curiosity (hacking new ideas) and building on each other (working cross-functionally) within the organization.
This activity paved the way for 10 shortlisted ideas, 8 of which made it to the next phase after having gathered enough members to execute. “…The engagement was interesting when we had the first round of pitching of ideas coming from different teams,” shared Arianne.
A cut above the rest: The winning team’s story
Among the participants, one team stood out the most. JB Lorenzo, an Engineering team member, led a group of members across different departments. The group eventually took home not just the Grand Prize, but along with it, the Best Idea and Best Output awards.
The winning idea was drawn from JB’s personal experience with the product.
“Since I joined OLX a few months ago, I found that it was an opportunity to make the product better. I have since thought of features/changes to input into it….because of the Growth Hackers event, I was able to allot time to test my ideas,” said JB.
He was surprised by the support coming from members outside the Engineering team, but eventually took in members outside the tech circle. “I’m quite new in the office, so it’s not yet natural to gain the support of my team….Even though they don’t know me that much, or I don’t have the most charismatic voice or actions…they liked the idea enough to trust and support me,” JB shared.
The diversity proved to be an advantage later on. Chabs Esguerra, one of the team’s members, mentioned that “it provides balance in perspectives.” She added that:
“On the one hand, we have team members from Product and Engineering that are part of the creation of the product and has the capability to implement the idea. On the other, we also have team members from Finance and Admin that represents our user base and provides unbiased suggestions for the idea.”
While there were many challenges faced along the way, both in the Growth Hackers activity itself and in the teams’ experimentation phase, a lot of compromise, idea-sharing, and trust helped move the activity forward.
In looking for a common schedule, Chabs shared that “The weeks of the hackathon was a very busy week, at least for our [us], since we have a deadline to meet for another project. It was difficult to switch one’s focus from one project to another.”
But the team’s output, along with several others’, made the event a true success in teamwork: “The judges were also happy and impressed with the results of the final pitch presentations of the participants. So, I guess that simply translates into achieving the goals of this team activity,” said Arianne.
All-in-all, the activity still had a lot to improve on. But given that this was the first of its kind, it has achieved its goal of giving members a clearer sense of the company objectives, while honing the values to live by while aiming to meet them.
“Having clear objectives and continuous communication are vital for this activity. These really helped the participants stay tuned and properly guided to achieve the purpose,” expressed Arianne. “I believe that the first Growth Hackers activity is not perfect yet and there’s a lot to learn and improve on. But that’s how it works sometimes. Continuous learning and experiments are part of who we are,” she added.
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