I had an idea that could solve a particular client challenge but hadn’t found the technical skills to bring the idea to life, so as soon as I heard about the hackathon I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to help develop it into something real. I thought I’d go along, share my idea and see if anything could come of it. Luckily, I was paired up with some very clever developers from the network - it was the perfect opportunity to see if we could put that idea into practice and produce something we could take back and show our client.
What do you think the hackathon says about our business?
I think the hackathon was an inspired idea and it really shows that as a business we are being serious about data and technology. We have scores of forward-thinking individuals within the company so to host an event designed to tap into that knowledge and expertise made perfect sense. I’d like to think we can repeat the event on an annual basis – I know several of the tools, apps and technology ideas created are already being introduced to client work which is an incredible outcome less than a week after they were devised. Hopefully the success of this year’s event will inspire more people to participate next time.
What did you create in the end and did it work?
We devised a trend prediction and analysis tool. We realised we could get way ahead of the competition if we were able to predict trends for the client before they happened. We could help our clients to understand their audience and identify and leverage influencers better, identify important moments and ultimately create more culturally-relevant and effective campaigns.
On a basic level, compare it to the world of fashion – if you know in the winter that next summer a certain look will be a trend, you can work with that and get your product in front of the consumer right when the trend is at its peak.
What have you learnt from the experience?
I learnt a couple of things from the hackathon. First, it’s amazing what can be created by taking bits of data and having the ability to stich those different data sets together – you can pretty much solve any problem or challenge, big or small.
Secondly I realised there is this enormous skill set within the network that we have the opportunity to tap into. These are like-minded people that are developing similar ideas and the opportunity to combine those ideas to create something great should be seized.
You know you’ve made it when….
…something that was just an intangible idea yesterday is developed into a real, workable tool today that can then be used across the wider network to solve any number of client issues and challenges that will in turn have a genuine impact on their business.