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Uplight’s First Hackathon Focuses on Diversity and Inclusion

By Emily Beliveau on

Hackathon word block

With the recent events in America’s racial story, Uplight has been introspective around the ways we can better serve as a beacon of responsible capitalism. One way has been a focus on how our products can better reflect the diversity of the people we serve. We ran the first Uplight hackathon on September 10 and 11 around the theme of diversity and inclusion as a way to catalyze our company into action–enabling everyone to be part of the change we wish to see. 

Unlike traditional hackathons, this was not just an event for engineers. This year’s projects ranged from coding to reporting and tracking to strategizing how and where Uplight should move next. Likewise, we did not view diversity and inclusion in a narrow frame. Race, gender expression, disability, and educational attainment are all examples of different types of inclusion. 

From a deep analysis of the effectiveness of our clients’ low-to-middle-income, or LMI, programs to a pay-it forward assistance program to improve the experience for visually impaired customers, the ideas from our 12 teams were thoughtful and innovative. 

Our teams were judged on four characteristics: innovation, strategic alignment, alignment to the theme, and impact. The winning idea will divert a share of utility performance incentives from EE programs to support customers who are undergoing economic hardship but have been left out of standard utility low-income offerings. The runner-up imagined a centralized offer center for LMI customers to quickly access offers from their utility. The people’s choice award recipients focused on an elementary school curriculum that distilled complicated energy concepts connected to our solutions. 

The best part? Integrating as many ideas as possible into our products to make them a richer experience for more people.  

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