Simply Business Hackathon - What we built and what we learned

  • 11 July 2012
Simply Business Hackathon - What we built and what we learned

Last month we ran the inaugural Simply Business hackathon.

The Hackuna Matata event saw teams of Simply Business employees working on a range of new ideas, with the intention of creating usable products in just two days.

From games to ticketing platforms, we built a host of new tools and toys with just 48 hours of frantic coding.

We are confident that your business could benefit from its own hackathon – so we have compiled a rundown of the products we built, and a list of lessons learned, to help inspire your own event.

What we built

Project Euro is a simple way to access the details of your insurance policy on your mobile phone, giving business owners the opportunity to prove to customers that they are properly covered.

Frantick is a ‘purchase interruption service’ for use in ticketing platforms. It requires would-be customers to answer a series of questions about the band for which they are trying to purchase tickets, in order to help prevent touting.

Project Buffy uses publicly available data to help price insurance products more intelligently. It builds a comprehensive set of information about a property through the use of a number of different APIs.

Brainiac is a set of games operated using the power of the player’s mind. A wearable “brainwave reading device” allows users to control characters simply by thinking.

Github Recruitment makes it easier to find developers, by providing a simple way to identify suitable individuals based on their GitHub profiles.

Simply Services makes it easy for Simply Business customers to find local service providers, by offering a simple interface through which policy holders can connect with each other.

Simply Addictive is a location-based game that combines Snap with the ‘Free Wiki World Map’ OpenStreetMap.

Wizard & Project Fei are two new ways of simplifying the process of buying insurance online. One provides a visual interface to help customers choose their cover, while the other ensures that users are only asked questions that are relevant, based on their previous answers.

What we learned

We should have done this a long time ago! There are a huge number of great ideas in every business. We managed to turn some of those ideas into viable, working products in just two days.

Don’t just keep it to the techies. By encouraging the whole company to participate, we ended up with a broader range of ideas and richer results.

Let people pick their teams. We split up into groups to work on each of the projects. By allowing people to choose which project they were involved in, we helped to ensure that they remained interested in and committed to the task.

Set aside time to finish. Many of the projects we worked on will have a life outside the Hackathon – and we need to make sure that we set aside enough time to fulfil their potential.

What does a hackathon look like?

A good question! Watch the video below for a sneak peak inside the Simply Business hackathon.

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