My first hackathon!

My first hackathon!

My first hackathon!

Thursday 25 March 2021

During my 25 years working in Experian I have never taken part in a hackathon – yep NEVER.

I have ducked, dived, and avoided them like the proverbial plague.

I’ve never classed myself as ‘technical’, so no point joining a hackathon – right!

How wrong was I!

I’m a Business Resilience professional focussing on Business Continuity planning, Operational Resilience and Crisis Management within Experian.  I was given the opportunity as one of the ‘Twenty in Experian’ 2021 winners to join the FCA Women’s Economic Empowerment TechSprint Conference.

OK – time to get out of my comfort zone and give it a go.

Having signed up for the conference, I scanned through the project teams.  Joint Bank Accounts drew my attention; investigating how we could build a safer, more sophisticated alternative to the standard joint bank account.  The overview written our team’s visionary was interesting and thought provoking.  So I jumped in with both feet.

It was great to join such a diverse and inclusive team, Bailey Kursar, our lead visionary, facilitated the project at pace over the 4 days, to enable us to present our solution on day 4.  Ideas flooded in during our first meeting, the challenge was to home-in on the key story would look to develop and present.  Unfortunately, due to technical issues I couldn’t access some of the applications we were using, but that didn’t stop me joining discussions, sharing thoughts and feeding into our project.

As our ideas took shape, we broke out into teams covering research and development.  Initially I joined the research team, looking into competitor offerings, existing market research and user needs.  Teams fed back each day, and we quickly moved onto the next stage, in which I worked with the design team, defining customer experience and the look and feel of our new account.

I didn’t expect that the sessions would be so intense, taking up every moment of the day. I didn’t attend any of the conference sessions, but they are available for 90 days after the event, so I can take my time to watch those later. We had a truly collaborative approach, and it was a great opportunity to work with such a diverse group of innovators.

The results – day 4 came around quickly and all 9 teams presented to the illustrious judging panel and our peers.  We waited with bated breath and pleased to have been awarded the audience choice award.

Our final prototype, called Cocoa
Our final prototype, called Cocoa

What now!

More hackathons please.  It was a great experience and I’m looking forward to joining more events in the future.

Top tips

  • Network
    • It’s a great chance to meet new people whilst working on a shared goal, without the awkward mid meeting chat over a curled up sandwich
  • Be present
    • Clear your diary - it’s going to be a busy few days
  • Believe in yourself
    • You can contribute more than you think
  • Be open to new ideas and new ways of working
    • It’s a great growth opportunity
  • Beware of firewalls
    • Ensure you have a personal device to hand so you can access all the sites and tools you may need to use

#FCATechSprint #WESprint2021 #Experian #womenleaders #BCI #WIR #Womeninresilience

Our team's mascots, the Bean Squad
Our team's mascots, the Bean Squad

Made with ❤️ at an FCA TechSprint, 2021