Building The Future

LV= Hackathon

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Sharon Jones

Lab Engineer, Barclays


There is a palpable air of excitement in Bournemouth Lab as developers, infrastructure engineers, architects and security (customer data) engineers come together to work on a project. Although they have spoken before on conference calls, for many this is the first opportunity to meet face to face. The team is trying to solve a problem that has been spoken about for a number of years – but taking an innovative approach.

LV=’s Tomorrow Team is all about experimenting; testing the feasibility, viability and desirability of ideas for new products and services. With their head office very close to Bournemouth Lab, they make use of the space with proximity to the main office, coffee on tap and lovely staff. The creative atmosphere supports their aims to revolutionise and proved an ideal space to bring together people selected for their specific skills from across the country to work at the same time on the same project.

The hackathon was a feasibility study, trying to solve a problem that has been spoken about and strategised for a number of years. This is an area that falls under the remit of different areas, so called for an innovative approach. In suggesting this, David Oliver, Head of Digital was able to secure agreement that this was an area that should be tackled, and therefore worth bringing people together. The week long hack is the result of lots of planning and development; two full months of planning and preparation and involving around 25 people altogether with between 15 and 18 involved each day.

The week commenced with an introduction from John Perks, Managing Director of Life and Pensions at LV=. The hackathon conducted an exploration of the concept; moving elements of the task through building, testing, troubleshooting and live user testing across mobile and desktop platforms.  This experimental phase has identified potential gaps and enabled the business to determine whether this is an area to invest in and further develop.

What was achieved was impressive – in just four and a half days people from Bournemouth, Exeter, Hitchin, Cardiff, Oxford and London met, built and tested a project that could have taken more than six months using traditional project management. The project had the potential to remain a paper exercise, whereas the investment and commitment of the team has prototyped a product in a week that is both secure and functional.

Marc Cork, an identity authentication specialist commented, “I’ve very much enjoyed this. Work, collaboration and discussion; it has been impressive to implement within the infrastructure and be able to problem solve as a team.”

The colleagues who visited on Friday afternoon to live test the result of the hackathon were very positive and impressed with what had been achieved. Although there will be areas to develop, a very busy week has certainly achieved a great deal in answering the questions every business needs to ask;

Can we build it?

Do people want it?


Sharon Jones is based at Bournemouth Eagle Lab

Bournemouth is increasingly being recognised as one of the most significant locations in the UK digital economy outside London. Barclays are investing in the future of the town by supporting its drive to become an international Digital Hub, for Start ups and entrepreneurs alike.

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