Gearing Up to SPARK a Winner


Guest Post By Katherine Nelson-Reid, VP of Marketing & Business Development at Obtiva

For three days – July 25, 26, and 27 – Obtiva will incubate one of the three winning Startup Weekend teams as part of the SPARK Chicago competition. We’re looking forward to the team’s arrival and planning is underway to make sure their experience here is productive and rewarding.

Our team of back-end and front-end developers will be working with the SPARK team that week… wildly talented developers who know their stuff and who will be helping the team rapidly build out an outstanding app. We’ll start with the idea that won them Startup Weekend honors and take it further by enhancing, modifying, refining and redesigning it.

The team will have its own office space at Obtiva; we’ve set aside our large training room to serve as their own private headquarters. The SPARK team will pair with our developers and work right alongside other Obtivians as they are building out projects for clients. There’s a great creative, productive vibe in the Obtiva Studio that sets the stage for the creation of a masterpiece.

The SPARK challenge isn’t too drastically different from what we do every day: applying agile practices as we collaborate and work in pairs; communicating closely with each other and the client; carrying out work one iteration at a time; testing as we go to create reliable, quality code; and rapidly deploying exceptional software that resonates with the user (and, in this case, with the panel of investors and judges, too).

The experience promises to infuse our workplace with a new source of energy and excitement. A big part of our Obtiva culture involves working with the community through mentoring and training, and our involvement with Startup Weekend and SPARK really brings this to life.

I want to give a shout-out to the folks over at Pathfinder and Doejo who are incubating the other two SPARK Chicago teams. And of course we congratulate the organizers of Startup Weekend Chicago and SPARK for conceptualizing this unique competition. We’re all looking forward to seeing the great new business ideas that will come out of this experience.