An event in the times of Corona where innovations need to be developed together – how is that even possible? Well, with a hackathon, of course!

The idea for the hackathon is born

The Corona crisis was in full swing and many TÜV Rheinland employees were working from their homes. We in the Innovation Team asked ourselves: How can we reach our colleagues around the world during this time and jointly develop ideas for solutions to the challenges posed by the pandemic?

This is how the idea for the “TRvsCorona Solution Challenge” came about. A 72-hour hackathon in which colleagues from all over the world come together virtually and jointly develop innovative approaches to solutions.

A crisis also always offers the opportunity for something new.

Technology, jury, mentors – the preparations are underway

Before the event, a few preparations had to be made. First, there was the question of technology – which collaboration tool did we want to use for the hackathon? We chose Skype for communication and Sharepoint for materials and drafts. Furthermore, we contacted employees from different departments who supported the participants as mentors. We also selected a jury that would choose the best ideas at the end. Finally, we announced our hackathon on our intranet and waited for the first registrations. But we didn’t expect such a large turnout.


Kickoff for the Hackathon – TRvsCorona

Ten teams of five colleagues from all over the world came together. And that despite the fact that the hackathon fell on a weekend! We clicked our way through the challenges that had been submitted.

The challenges ranged from remote work to new service development to epidemic prevention. What interesting and creative solutions would emerge from the hackathon?

At the beginning of June, the time had come – the “TRvsCorona Solution Challenge” was launched. The participants sat at home in front of their computers and the organization team was on site in the TÜV Tower – all of them tested negative for Covid-19, of course.

After a short welcome round, everyone was allowed to assign themselves to a team. Then things really got going: From then on, everyone had 72 hours to exchange creative ideas, develop prototypes , and work out solutions.

They were supported by ten mentors, who the teams could book for individual time slots. As the initiators, we ensured that everything ran smoothly and were always available to answer questions.

The winners of the challenge

At the end of the hackathon, there were ten innovative concepts from which our jury now had to select the most promising ideas. No easy task. After all, the results would not simply disappear in a drawer, but would be implemented in the company in a subsequent project.


Some of the most promising approaches of the hackathon “TRvsCorona Solution Challenge” are:

  • A new service program for business continuity management that allows customers to maintain general operations and IT in crisis situations and establish specific standards and procedures to do so
  • A new testing and certification process for UVC light devices designed to effectively disinfect items such as escalator handrails against corona viruses
  • A digital signature program for contracts. Since Corona, signing has also been taking place more frequently without the contracting parties being present on site and must therefore meet special security standards.

Driving innovation together

I can’t wait to see the concepts come to life. Our goal was to host a hybrid hackathon, creating solutions that are good and useful for people and our business. We wanted to work in diverse and international teams, learn how using digital tools and collaboration tools works for everyone, and get creative together. I am proud of how well the hackathon went, how much fun the participants had, and that promising approaches emerged.


Kai Ulrich

Kai Ulrich

Innovation Facilitator

Kai Ulrich is an innovation facilitator, moderates innovation processes and drives digital transformation. He supports colleagues in transforming expert knowledge into desirable products, new services , and sustainable business models with the help of Design Thinking and the Lean startup method, among others. Kai is also a speaker and prefers to talk about sustainable innovation approaches. His career tip today is: Innovate you!

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