Atlassian schools Nintendo on innovation

Aussie start-up success Atlassian is heading to Nintendo's headquarters in the US to school the game company on how to motivate and inspire its employees.

Aussie start-up success Atlassian is heading to Nintendo's headquarters in the US to school the game company on how to motivate and inspire its employees.

(7/365 - Retro Gaming image by Richard Heaven, CC BY 2.0)

Nintendo will be taught how to run an Atlassian innovation event that the Aussie start-up success calls FedEx Days. Like the delivery company, Atlassian employees are provided with a challenge to deliver something within 24 hours, except that something is anything — a new feature, application, extension or bug fix — that relates to their work.

Last year, Atlassian offered companies the chance to learn how it runs these events. Close to 150 companies responded to that offer, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. These included HP, JBoss and even NASA.

Nintendo director of infrastructure and operations Dave Tempero said that he saw FedEx Days as more than just pushing employees to be more creative.

"I've realised that would be a good way to spark the creativity I know is within my teams," Tempero wrote to Atlassian. "The benefits to my company, however, are really just the by-products of a much more important change — the spark of excitement and commitment that comes when people are working on projects that they are excited about and fully vested in."

One of Atlassian's "FedExperts" who will lead the Atlassian-Nintendo event on 26 April is Jonathan Nolen, director of developer relations.

"Nintendo makes the most innovative games on the planet — games that I've loved my whole life," Nolen said.

"I hope we can bring the spirit of rapid innovation that we've experienced with Atlassian FedEx Days to Nintendo's team. It's going to be a great day."

Atlassian also paid homage to three other companies that it listed as runner-up entries. Toy and board-game company Hasbro caught its eye for its own events that run in a similar vein to Atlassian's FedEx Days, as well as its culture of mixing work and play, something that Atlassian says it tries to capture in its own offices.

US natural gas company Infinite Energy caught Atlassian's attention by telling the story of its developer team that went rogue to build a feature outside the scope of the application that they were working on.

Symantec's cloud division was also among the three top mentions, because it had tried to run its own FedEx Days event last year using Atlassian's FedEx Days FAQ as a guide. It decided to run the day after being inspired by career analyst Daniel Pink's book Drive, which talks about FedEx days.