The Quack-IT Challenge is a 24-hour challenge to University of Oregon IT staff to brainstorm, envision, design, and create technology innovations that will make UO more capable of meeting its mission. Projects can be individual- or team-based, and cross-department collaboration is highly encouraged.
Teams will have 24-hours to work on a project of their choosing. While participating in the Quack-IT Challenge, employees’ work will be temporarily put on hold during that period.
At the end of the contest, teams will present their projects to a panel of judges, who will select the winners. One or more of the projects may also be implemented!
For this academic year, the Quack-IT Challenge will kick off on Tuesday, January 7 at 3:00 p.m. Presentations will begin at 3:00pm on Wednesday, January 8, with awards following the presentations. The kick-off meeting, presentations, and awards will be in the EMU Ballroom.
Participation is highly recommended AND voluntary. IT employees, including student staff, are eligible to participate. All teams must present their work, even if it didn’t generate the expected result. There are multiple ways to get involved even if you cannot participate on a team.
Employees should seek permission from their supervisor prior to signing up for the Quack-IT Challenge. It is the expectation that the supervisor will help to ensure an employees’ work is covered for a 24-hour period. Please note that supervisors are not eligible to compete in the Quack-IT Challenge so that their staff can participate.
Project Ideas and Examples
See the 2018 teams and their entries at Quack-IT Projects.
Projects can be anything IT-related and do not have to be focused on coding. Your project could be a web widget to solve a customer issue, an idea to improve an existing application, or an improvement to a process, procedure, or form. Examples of innovation challenge projects at other universities have included:
- a new process for sending all new employees a welcome email with helpful information
- using a document management system to store contracts and manage their expiration dates
- creating a process to post downtime notifications to Twitter
How to Participate
There are several different ways to participate in the Quack-IT Challenge:
- Form a team. Create a team of any size for your project. One-person teams are allowed. Also, consider that every team is required to present on Thursday, December 13, regardless of their project’s outcome, so consider adding a teammate who likes public speaking. Register here!
- Volunteer to help set up and facilitate the Quack-IT Challenge. There are many different activities we need help with including help with the kick-off and presentation/award ceremony. Volunteer here!
The IT community who watch the presentations in person (or streaming live) will be able to vote, and after a brief intermission, the People’s Choice winner will be announced by Provost Patrick Phillips.
The Quack-IT Challenge judges will also give awards based on the voting criteria.
- Deployability: How much work remains to be done?
- Technical Expertise: Did the work address any significant technical problems?
- Helpfulness: How much value does this project provide to customers or to the campus?
- Uniqueness: Does the project stand out due to its originality? Was it presented well?
Implementation of Ideas
It is the hope that there will be several projects ready to implement as a result of the Quack-IT Challenge. Projects will be reviewed for implementation by the IS Leadership Team on usefulness, deployability, technical expertise, and uniqueness.
There’s no obligation for Information Services to implement any of the projects. However, the challenge is a way of working together, generating ideas, and encouraging creativity that we believe will ultimately make for a more rewarding work environment for all.
Information Services’ Support
Information Services will provide teams with lunch and t-shirts for the day of the event, provide event assistance (scheduling space, catering) and take photos of teams and projects on the day of the event.
For the first Quack-IT Challenge, the judges presented four awards:
- Most Deployable: Happy Campers (Mark Messenger)
- Best Mission-Facing Solution: Team DuckHost (DJ Wyrick, Lucas Crownover, Corey Gillen, Daniel Mundra, Garrett Stewart)
- Best ROI: Quacking Under Pressure (Brock Lampman, Kit Day, Meni Fontaine, and Travis Shea)
- People's Choice Award: The Morlocks (Dylan Bragg, John Fuller, and Shane McGovern)
2018-19 event details
The Quack-IT Challenge for 2018-19 began at 3:00pm on Wednesday, December 12 and ended at 3:00pm on Thursday, December 13.
2018-19 theme: Anything under the sun
“Anything under the sun” was the theme for the 2018-19 Quack-IT Challenge.