21 June 2021
4 min read
It’s the biggest event in the Iress calendar; the notoriously pizza-fuelled global hackathon is back for 24 hours of innovation, experimentation and fun.
Excitement is building, ideas are flying in, teams assembling, and our good friends at Slack and AWS have treated us to some mini-masterclasses. So it’s fair to say we’re feeling pumped for what's set to be one of our best hackathons yet with more participation than ever expected across all our regions and functions. Some of us will be in offices, some of us online, but wherever we are, we know we’re set for 24 hours of unlimited creativity and fun.
There’s just one rule - the hackathon ideas must support our mission to make it easier for people to love financial services. That could be anything that will help our clients and users (and their customers and colleagues) love their financial services provider, love how it works, love their job or love the result, with prizes for the team that delivers the best outcome.
Two people who know all about winning ideas are product design experts Joydip Das and Amir Ansari. Both new to Iress, it will be their first Iress global hackathon. We asked them to share their experiences and tips for hackathon success. And it involves Red Bull. A lot of Red Bull.
JOYDIP DAS, CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER
Hackathons are normally very tech-centric. Even in some of the biggest companies I’ve worked in, like Salesforce, everyone goes, “oh, the engineers are out today doing something”. The way Iress is engaging the entire company is unique and a fantastic opportunity to collaborate.
The theme of making it easier to love financial services is interesting. Finance makes most end users anxious, and the industry finds so many ways to complicate it for people. Anything around the concept of experience with money is worth thinking about.
Think big, execute small. That’s where the challenge of making good stuff comes from. The idea is one thing, but it's how you bring people together to believe in it and build that story out. Everyone needs to buy into how this small thing you've built can go beyond today to become the big game-changer.
Hackathons are a safe place to experiment, so take a risk. But pull ideas into a simple logical framework. You’ve got to know who it’s for, what problem you’re solving, how it will benefit the user and how you can be sure that will happen, then how are you going to sell it? I’d add an extra one - how are you going to scale it?
Think big. Surprise yourself. And if you’ve had 24 hours of Red Bull, drink lots of water.
AMIR ANSARI, GLOBAL HEAD OF PRODUCT DESIGN
I’ve been involved in too many hackathons to count on one hand (including the awesome Random Hacks of Kindness) as a participant, facilitator and judge. But, the best thing about hackathons is the cross-pollination of ideas, diversity of thought and people coming together; all that excitement, energy and mojo.
Prize-winning and building technology is just a side benefit. If you get an idea that works, fantastic, but, for me, the measure of success is: who did you work with that was new, what did you learn that was new, and what skills did you pick up?
You don’t have to code or deliver working software to be part of a hackathon (I look at code and get cross-eyed), but you need to deliver a great pitch showing the problem you’re trying to solve.
Challenges should be kept small and manageable. It’s 24 hours, and often people will exhaust themselves and burn the midnight candle, which goes against the point of being energised. Pick a problem that’s doable in that 24 hours.
Ultimately have fun and, referencing a quote I came across recently, “be brave enough to suck at something new”.
Follow all the excitement, energy and mojo of the Iress global hackathon at #iresshackathon21
Our brilliant custom emojis created by our senior designer, Chris May, in the UK.