LS&Co. Hackathon Sparks Innovation

Harmit Singh, Chief Financial Officer
Levi Strauss & Co.
August 23, 2021

We’re always striving to be on the forefront of innovation at LS&Co. — after all, we’re the company that invented blue jeans more than 165 years ago. Today, innovation means building for a digital future and investing in digital transformation. And one way we’ve been doing this is by hosting hackathons.

Along with our Machine Learning Bootcamp, the first of its kind in the retail industry, our hackathons serve as an important hallmark of our culture of innovation — reimagining, rethinking and redefining what’s possible.

We hosted our most recent Hackathon virtually earlier this month, marking the fourth time our employees competed to solve problems and apply those solutions to the business. Although we missed the energy and excitement of bringing teams together under one roof, the advantage of hosting the event virtually was that we were able to take it truly global and open it up beyond the technology team, making it our most expansive hackathon yet. A record 35 teams from 11 countries collaborated internationally and cross-functionally to share their technology-led ideas to help propel our business, brand and profitability. And for the first time ever, we needed two rounds: a qualifier and a final round.

By bringing our people together to collaboratively solve problems in a short period of time, we’re creating a powerful engine for idea generation to better serve our consumers. From chat bots to self-checkout, the resulting solutions presented at our hackathons have business impact.

In fact, thanks to a past winning hackathon team, we’re piloting self-checkout in our Palo Alto, California, store right now. Consumers can enjoy a seamless shopping experience using self-checkout in the Levi’s® mobile app — allowing them to skip the checkout lines. Other past winning projects have led to the online cancellation option for consumers and Levi’s® customization on levi.com. That all amounts to a tangible enhancement to the consumer shopping experience.

I was personally impressed by the level of creativity we saw from each of the teams this month and want to congratulate all of the employees who participated. You are fostering our culture of innovation here at LS&Co., and I know you will continue to drive our digital transformation journey. I would also like to thank our CIO, Chris Clark, and Kartik Kumar VP, Global Brand & Commercial Technology, for bringing their passion for collaborative innovation to life through the hackathon event. I can’t wait to see the winning ideas become a reality.