13 September 2019
I can’t be 100 per cent sure I invented the word ‘Hackademy’ but I know I was the first person to roll out the concept to HSBC Technology colleagues in 2019.
A Hackademy is an ‘invention marathon’ where HSBC employees are invited to work in teams to learn and explore how to design a new product or service. The aim is simple: Share new ideas to develop technical skills, improve collaboration and benefit customers.
With the help of the Technology Academy – a wonderful internal learning resource available to the 42,000 colleagues in Technology - we ran our first global Hackademy earlier this year, drawing 106 teams from 19 countries and territories from across HSBC.
The Hackademy allowed people to put their learning to work and gave them the environment to put it into practice. Between them, our technology partners provided the framework and a collaboration platform to run an event supported by Cloud-based resources and training.
After several rounds we had a shortlist of 10 ideas. Finally, a judging panel of senior IT people led by HSBC Technology Chief Architect David Knott chose the winners – a team from Canada who developed a solution that enables customers to quickly and securely share their financial information with online banking system platforms that we’re now working out how we can put into production.
Here’s another example of the learning ethos behind the Hackademy - the teams had to present their ideas in a video no longer than three minutes. It had to include an elevator pitch, business use case and a summary. Teams had access to mentors to develop their presentation so it resonated with a non-specialist audience – a vital ‘soft skill’ for IT professionals working in an organisation like HSBC.
The winning team showed excellent technical knowledge of course but crucially they focused on the customers’ outlook and the difference their service would make.
A final thought: Hackathons are wonderful. Who doesn’t want to go head-to-head with rival teams energised with bags of potato chips and pizza?! But I think the Hackademy takes hackathons a big step forward by using the best tools to leverage our skills and build our knowledge to come up with products and services that may soon be in use across the bank.