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In a year defined by disruption, many organizations have had to curtail or severely limit their summer internship programs. The RingTerns at RingCentral not only managed to make the shift to virtual work, but blew leadership away with their innovative entries in this year’s RingTern Disrupt Challenge.

Every year, RingTerns participate in the Disrupt Challenge – a competition similar to Shark Tank, where groups of “entrepreneurs” conceive, test and present ideas to a panel of our leading product experts.

This summer’s class of 39 RingTerns split up into four groups, each tasked with creating a feature enhancement for our RingCentral Video application. The teams spent 8 weeks concepting, creating mockups, performing market analysis, and searching for ways to effectively demonstrate ROI.

Due to the pandemic, each team had to gather virtually, but deliver actually. That meant putting together a detailed presentation featuring the following elements:

Naming/Explanation: What’s your idea/product called? What does it do?
Preview: How does it work?
Expected ROI: How does it generate revenue, and how much does it cost to make-or-implement?
Rationale: How does this idea fit RingCentral’s business model and long-term strategy?
Go-To-Market Strategy: What markets are we targeting? Who is the audience? How will our product be delivered? How will we message-and-market it? What’s it going to cost?

The teams met. Brainstormed. Debated. Tested. Refined. Debated some more. And on August 6, they delivered their presentations (again, virtually,) to over 300 RingCentral employees led by a panel featuring some of the company’s leading product experts:

William Moxley—Senior Vice President & Chief Product Officer
Jonathan Chong—Associate Vice President, Application development
Reno Renollet—Senior Director, UCaas Engineering
Renny Monaghan—Vice President, Solutions Marketing
David Theis—Product Manager, (and RingTern Class of 2017 alumni.)

The quality of the thinking, and of the presentations was first-class. From ideas that enhanced our existing products to ideas that reimagined the ways we interact with customers and colleagues, the panelists had their work cut out for them.

So…at this point you’re probably psyched to hear all about the winning idea, right? Heh. Well. This is awkward.

We’d love to tell you about the winning idea, but since it is actually going into production, we’ve got to keep it under wraps for now, which is just eating us up, but rules are rules.

We can, however, tell you it’s really smart, and you’ll see it live really soon. We can also congratulate the winning team: “New Kids On The Call,” which we will do right now:

Adriana Regolado, Akruti Desai, Caitlin Carroll, Griffin D’Haenens, Hui Yu Chuang, Jacob Baker, Mathilde Berthier, Nash Kathiravan, Riley Chu and Virginia Washburn, take a bow. You crushed it.

Shout-outs are also in order for our other teams – the creativity, hard work and innovation showed through in every single one of your presentations.

SECOND PLACE – “Intern-ally Screaming”
THIRD PLACE – “Ten Plus Jenn”
FOURTH PLACE – “The Brainstormers”

The RingTern program is the perfect example of what #workingtogether means— a chance for people just launching their careers to get real-world experience and deliver real-world impact, together. Just ask team member Akruti Desai. “Coming up with a problem and then doing analysis, research and solutions is something I will be able to take with me going forward in my career. It’s applicable not just in my field, but in general, having that mindset helps personally and professionally.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in Disrupt Challenge 2020. We’ll let you know as soon as the product goes live, and we can’t wait for next year!

Originally published Aug 13, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022

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