What happens when you put people with a diversity of skillsets (programming, design, data, marketing) under one roof to work towards an objective, turn up the pressure by adding constraints such as time (48hrs) and team size (3-7) and add heat (you’ll be assessed in front of your peers by a select panel of judges)?
You get an awe-inspiring display of talent and creativity such as the one seen at The Infinite Kind’s second finance-themed hackathon held in Edinburgh just over a week ago (1st-3rd April).
Our event was held at the stunning Deloitte office thanks to Kent Mackenzie. He was a sponsor at our inaugural finance hackathon in November 2015, and was impressed enough to be the first to offer his – and his wonderful team’s – support by offering to host us for this one.
The design of the space was spot-on with a beautiful communal area for socialising, relaxing and filling up on refreshments….
…as well as…
…lovely surrounding rooms for privacy and focussed work, and a large working area for teams that wanted the buzz of working alongside other teams.
The event officially started on the Friday evening at 6.15pm but people came bounding into the venue much earlier, quickly filling the air with an excited buzz as they exchanged ideas over beer and pizza.
Chatter, chatter…buzz buzz :) Happy hackers
The themes for the hackathon were financial products designed for (1) millennials, and (2) the ‘under-banked’ (i.e those excluded from accessing basic financial services).
The evening kicked off with Kent talking to a packed audience about the opportunities for fintech in Scotland followed by some lightning talks to set the scene:
- Mirren Fisher, UX Designer for Sapient Nitro, (currently on project with Scottish Widows and previously on a project with Royal Bank of Scotland) gave a passionate talk about UX in finance with some great examples.
- Devon Walshe, working with Glasgow City Council on their 100+million transformation project, addressed financial inclusion and urged attendees to think about the ‘under-banked’ right under our nose in the UK.
- Kate Ho, Senior Product Manager at Freeagent (previously Head of Product at a digital team in the Scottish Government) talked excitedly about designing for millennials.
Shortly afterwards, some attendees took turns to pitch ideas at the audience, and this concluded with people quickly self-organising into teams and brainstorming. Nine teams formed although one of the smaller teams was unable to complete the weekend.
By midnight, teams had planned what they were going to work on over the weekend and left the venue for some rest (hopefully) to prepare them for the intense weekend ahead.
On Saturday morning, the first team arrived at 7.45am! Once again, teams worked until midnight, fine-tuning their ideas, creating designs, writing code, coming across obstacles and chucking out work that had already been in done in order to try another approach etc
Saturday was also the day that most of the mentors were around to help in a variety of areas: from programming to design and business…
…and teams put them to good use….
Sunday evening presentations
Most of the teams worked on ideas around personal financial management aimed at millennials; oftentimes this involved tracking expenses but with variations around how to incorporate social/community elements and how to use any information gathered about a user to meet the following objectives:
- educate users about themselves and their spending habits
- make projections and recommendations based on past/current spending behaviour
- educate users about finance and use rewards to nudge them towards positive financial management habits
- improve financial self confidence and take a step by step approach to walk users out of debt and towards the creation of savings
- meet very specific savings goals taking a highly visual and social approach
- use community support to strengthen positive habits
A couple of teams went in a different direction: one worked on providing young entrepreneurs with access to funding from local investors, and another worked on providing an easy and flexible way to automatically pay donations to charities with each purchase a user makes.
A list of teams and description of their ideas can be found here.
Teams were judged by Sean Reilly (The Infinite Kind), Kent Mackenzie (Deloitte) and Michelle Galea (The Data Lab).
And the winners of The Infinite Kind’s Award for Most Developed Concept/Prototype went to Team Sustainably for their charity payments platform. The winning team (below) got on quite well during the weekend which is just as well considering that one of their prizes was to be locked in a room together with the only way to escape being to solve specific challenges.
The evening ended with final drinks and fond farewells to teams who were still smiling at the end.
Many thanks to:
Our sponsors –
Our mentors: John, Troy, Jacek (Administrate), Kent (Deloitte), Kate (Freeagent), Devon (Glasgow City Council), Waqas (FindMyPast), Sean (The Infinite Kind)
All those who provided much needed hands-on support : Karen & Rhian (Deloitte), Scott (MBN Solutions), and Michelle (The Data Lab).