• Reed Smith LLP (map)
  • 101 Second Street (around Mission and 2nd)
  • San Francisco, CA 94105
  • US

Hackathons have become a popular way for a growing number of companies and organizations across many industries—not only in the US but spreading internationally—to stimulate creativity and innovation. This session will hear a variety of perspectives from experts with considerable practical experience with both hackathons as well as enterprise innovation strategies, to share their perspectives on the growing use of hackathons and what it takes to make them a successful tool in the “enterprise innovation strategy toolbox.”

The session time will be split evenly between the panel discussion and Q&A with the audience, so you will have ample opportunities to ask specific questions of the panelists, as well as interact with them during the networking period before and after the formal session.

Our panelists include:

  • Michele McConomy—SVP and General Manager, Corporate Innovation Services, Rocketspace
  • Damon Hernandez— Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) Hackathon, IDEAbuilder, and SpiralConcepts
  • Bill O'Connor--Innovation Strategist at Autodesk and leader of Autodesk Innovation Genome
  • Ricky Schwartz—Head of IT Innovation, Ericsson

Brief bios of our panelists:

Michele McConomy

Michele McConomy is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Corporate Innovation Services at RocketSpace, a technology campus headquartered in the heart of San Francisco. Since 2011, the company has been helping tech entrepreneurs, startups and corporate innovation professionals bring the future to market. RocketSpace’s perfect ecosystem has fueled the success of more than 850 startups, including Uber, Spotify, Practice Fusion, and Leap Motion, and under Michele’s leadership, more than 100 corporate clients, including Tata Communications, Lufthansa, Schneider Electric and Pfizer.

Michele has more than 15 years of experience in innovation management, crowdsourced ideation, and strategic consulting, previously leading a multi-million dollar portfolio of corporate innovation services at Mindjet. Prior to that, she was one of the early hires at Spigit which was acquired by Mindjet in 2014 and was a founding member of the US Innovation Office at PricewaterhouseCoopers.


Damon Hernandez.

As founding team member of the Augmented Reality Developer Camps, VR Hackathon, & founder of the AEC Hackathon, Damon is actively working to help grow the use of innovative technologies. He works in many areas of the Web3D Industry and has been active in virtual environments and the 3D web for over a decade. He is actively involved with the 3D web’s convergence with other technologies including IoT,GIS, CAD/BIM/CAM, AR/VR, mobile and advises a variety of entities that use these technologies.

Damon is a co-founder of IDEAbuilder, a high tech building company that uses immersive technologies and robotic manufacturing to build more efficiently. In the past, he has worked with 3D web and virtual world companies and was acting director and liaison of a student initiated organization with the Web3D Consortium, where he also works with the Consortium’s global outreach and education initiatives. He has built numerous mixed reality applications and has lead dozens of research projects in multiple domains.

Bill O'Connor.

Bill O’Connor works on the Corporate Strategy + Engagement team at Autodesk, where he co-manages the company’s thought leadership platform, edits the monthly publication POV, and serves as the primary speechwriter for the company’s CEO and CTO. He also writes a monthly column about innovation for Forbes.

He is the Founder of The Innovation Genome Project, where he and his team are in the process of researching the most important 1,000 innovations in world history, looking for practical patterns and insights that people can apply to their day-to-day work. Bill has presented findings from the project at industry conferences, and to Autodesk customers and internal teams, international trade delegations, and business schools. A short film about the project will also be released in August 2012.

Bill has 25 years of experience working on projects at the intersection of content, business, technology, design, and culture, and has lived and worked in New York, London, Boston, and San Francisco.

He has written and presented widely on all things Internet, including a piece called “Create or Be Created: The Internet Renaissance” on the peer-reviewed journal First Monday.Org, as well as appearances on CNN and at Yale University. He currently serves on the advisory boards of two Bay Area technology startups. He is a long-time student of creativity and innovation, and has been a guitarist, singer, and songwriter since he was 15.


Ricky Schwartz

Ricky Schwartz is the Head of IT Innovation for Ericsson. He joined Ericsson 3 years ago as part of the Business Excellence Early Career Program as a member of the IT Strategy and Innovation team located in San Jose. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and received his MBA from the Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech. Before joining Ericsson, Ricky worked for 5 years at various companies as a Mechanical Engineer and for one year in marketing at AT&T as part of their Leadership Development Program where he was responsible for setting up demonstrations of the Digital Life product across the country as well as planning and managing product trials. Among others, Ricky’s current responsibilities include analyzing the market to prepare IT for upcoming transformations, running Proof of Concepts and Innovation Challenges to showcase Ericsson’s IT capabilities, and regularly meeting with startups and other innovation teams in the Valley to discuss potential partnerships all with the aim of creating a highly innovative culture in IT. Ricky is a member of the global hackathon committee has run one internal hackathon within Ericsson focused on the use of the coding language Erlang, has been involved in a few other internal hackathons/learnathons, and is in the process of potentially planning a second hackathon around the topic of Virtual/Augmented Reality.