Innovation and creativity at Dotdigital

Image of program developer

Hack week is an annual celebration of creativity and innovation at Dotdigital. It’s an opportunity for our engineering teams to step away from the ordinary and build something outside of the norm. A time to use new technology, with different people, to improve things (and a good reason not to write unit tests, if only for a short while)!  

We give a flexible mandate to the teams by asking them what they could do to the Dotdigital application, processes, or practices to make them faster?, friendlier?, greener?, smarter?, easier?, or a bit more fun?. 

We’ve had a lot of great hacks in the past and many of them have made their way into the app. Transactional email started as a hack back in 2014 and dark mode was a hack last year, both of which are now firm favorites in the Dotdigital platform today.  

This year's entries

Launch Dotly

Team “Masala Steak” made up of Luke van Blerk, Agata Jezewska, Weronika Kucharska, Amiena Allie, Piotr Nowakowski and Pedro Mateus. 

Releasing new features to customers is a tough thing to get right. Who do you invite for feedback? How do you manage the rollout? Masala Steak’s idea was to improve feature management in Dotdigital by creating cohorts to group accounts and enable features. 

Hack week demo of Launch Dotly

Low carbon campaigns

Team “Green Hat Hackers” made up of Ash George, Alex Webber, Brayan Blanco, Wayne Parker, and Adhir Ramjiawan. 

We’re always looking at ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our platform and this hack gave email campaign senders the option to send their campaign at a time when electricity and gas supply data shows the highest percentage of renewable energy. 

How to send low carbon campaigns

That’s a bit graph-ic

Team “There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things” made up of Danny Rendle, Fanis Strezos, Kelvin Hiorns, and Dylan Viranyi. 

Our current API is great, but with the rising trend of GraphQL, this team looked into how we could add a GraphQL layer over our platform. 

Segment Visualizer

Team “Edgelords” made up of Dave Russell and Grant Lodge 

Segmentation is a powerful tool for marketers and Dotdigital supports this in a variety of ways. The goal of this hack was to utilize graphs in order to give a more insightful and detailed overview of how customer segments are made up. 

Segment visualizer

Dotty and the tooltips

Team “Binary tree caterpillars” made up of Andrei Constantin, Tom Westwood, Darya Yemzhina, Pablo Miletich, and Mubin Chachia. 

Our in-app help articles and support docs are already awesome, but what if there was another way to present tips to our users? This hack aimed to create a friendly tooltip dispenser called Dotty (anyone remember Clippy???) to present automated tooltips to users. 

Dotty and the tooltips

Better databag keys

Team “Unexpected item in the databag area” made up of Simon Capewell, Andrew Morozov, Joe Webb, David Goodwin, and Tomasz Bursztynski. 

Behind the scenes, settings and configuration options can be hard to manage. This team looked into ways we could improve our existing settings editor into something more descriptive and easier to use. 

Quote from Dave

Project Armadillo Trousers

Team “Oh god how did this get in here I am not good with computers” made up of Jenni Long, Crystal Preston, and Rikki Gullick. 

We use NPS scores to gauge engineer happiness, maybe you do for your customers too? This hack tried to make collating NPS data as easy as possible. Investigating ways to integrate data capture into our Pages and Forms tool and be able to report on the data in an insightful way. Example of NPS visualizer


  • Best video demo: Team Armadillo trousers

  • Most valuable idea – Dotty and the tooltips
  • Most innovative – Segment visualizer 
  • CPTO award – Launch Dotly 
  • Best team name – Oh god how did this get in here I am not good with computers 
  • Best hack of 2021 – Better databag keys 


Many thanks to everyone that helped make hack week 2021 a success! If you’d like to get involved in this sort of thing, then head over to our careers page and see how we can help. Don’t forget that you can see what’s coming up for Dotdigital and submit your ideas on how we could improve the platform by checking out our roadmap. 

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