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ELC Fuses Beauty, Technology and Social Impact at its 2019 Hackathon

Hack for Good results in innovative technology solutions to enhance citizenship and sustainability efforts

Company Feature

The Estée Lauder Companies’ (ELC) hosted innovative technology minds from around the world at the company’s second-annual Hackathon, “Hack for Good,” on October 11-12 at the ELC Technology Hub in Long Island City, NY. The event was designed to showcase ELC’s commitment to innovation, spirited IT culture and dedication to fostering a creative work environment for tech talent, while ultimately generating new ideas to further the company’s citizenship and sustainability efforts.  

During the 24-hour competition, the company called upon more than 140 participants from 27 universities and 11 corporations to develop technology solutions that enhance the eco-friendly and socially-conscious practices of ELC and its brands. More than 20 student teams and eight professional teams spent hours innovating, designing and coding, vying for a finalist position and the chance to see their ideas brought to life by ELC.

ELC Hackathon

“The excitement and the creativity buzzing around the office was palpable,” said Jennifer Brant-Gargan, Vice President, Clinique Global Technology Lead, who organized the Hackathon. “The level of innovation, collaboration and passion was remarkable, and the exceptional ideas generated have the potential to drive meaningful social impact.”

The Hack for Good theme is a natural fit for the company, which recently announced new Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals for 2020-2025 spanning social investments and employee engagement, ingredient transparency, packaging, emissions and responsible sourcing. These goals are intended to further strengthen the company’s long-held commitment to citizenship and sustainability.

“Sustainability and citizenship have always been central to how The Estée Lauder Companies and our brands operate,” said Nancy Mahon, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability. “By tapping into innovative and emerging technologies today, we can rapidly accelerate how we operate and engage our consumers around our socially-conscious efforts.”

ELC Hackathon

Michael Smith, Chief Information Officer, ELC, delivers remarks at ELC Hackathon

ELC Hackathon

ELC Hackathon participants came from 27 universities and 11 corporations

ELC Hackathon

The theme "Hack for Good" generated ideas around citizenship and sustainability efforts at ELC

ELC Hackathon

ELC Hackathon judges evaluate projects to select the winners 

ELC Hackathon

A winning team receives their award

ELC Hackathon

ELC IT employees celebrate the Hackathon’s success in Long Island City

At the end of the “hacking” period, all participants moved to an offsite location for final judging and a closing celebration. All projects were judged on creativity, execution, and functionality, and the judging panel by a diverse mix of ELC leaders, including:

  • Michael W. Smith, Chief Information Officer
  • Julie Van Ongevalle, Global Brand President, Origins (an ELC brand)
  • Jay Anderson, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Technologies
  • Lan Luan, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
  • Tim Voss, Senior Vice President, Global Development & Technical Operations
  • Alejandro Ferrer Ramos, Vice President, Brand Technology, Jo Malone London (an ELC brand)
  • Ashish Kahn, Vice President, Enterprise Architecture
  • Sowmya Gottipati, Vice President, Brand Technology
  • Jeremy Harris, Executive Director, Technology Portfolio & Project Execution

Three finalists were selected from the student team division and the professional team division. The winning ideas included innovative technology solutions to enhance product recycling in-and-out of retail environments, reward beauty consumers for their eco-friendly behaviors, incentivize charitable donations, and offer enhanced transparency into product ingredients. Solutions uniquely leveraged natural language processing (NPL), 3D modeling, location-tracking, voice, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and more to conceptualize iOS apps, mobile scanners and in-store kiosks to enhance ELC’s sustainability and citizenship efforts.

“ELC’s Hackathon demonstrated the incredible power of fusing beauty, technology and social impact,” said Michael W. Smith, Chief Information Office. “The breakthrough technology solutions unleashed during such a short period of time have the potential to engage our consumers in new ways and drive our business while furthering our commitment to doing good,” he continued. “Thank you and congratulations to all of the participants, volunteers and partners who helped us truly push the boundaries at this year’s ELC Hackathon.”

This event was sponsored by Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.

Discover IT opportunities at The Estée Lauder Companies here.

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