In search of future workplace hacks: a look into Danske Bank virtual hackathon

Three days full of inspiring ideas, sleepless nights, personal development and new connections. The weekend of 9-11 October was exactly about that - students, technology enthusiasts and various fields professionals as well as Danske Bank colleagues gathered online to tackle the challenges of future workplace in the virtual hackathon. Together with the help of 17 Danske Bank mentors, 6 finalists’ teams proved that there is nothing impossible and explored traditional organizational challenges through different angles.

2020 has brought the attention to the new ways of working – the global pandemic forced organizations to adapt and continue a lot of activities remotely.

“At Danske Bank, 80% of employees are working from home in our new realm.  How do we ensure that we think together instead of only getting together on video? The tools only don’t solve these problems – it’s the people and communities who adopt them. Hence, when we think of the concept of digital workplace in our new situation, let‘s see the employee at the centre. Our ultimate goal is improve the experience regardless of where employee is working from,” says Giedrius Dzekunskas, Head of Danske Bank Group IT Lithuania.

 These and many other challenges were solved during the hackathon “Future Workplace”. After having explored the topics of working remotely, digital tools and employee engagement, participants offered innovative approaches and solutions: smart bracelets that disinfect the working space with UV light, upgraded project management tools, smart booking systems and many more. The creativity put into every presentation surprised the jury and made it even harder to agree on the Top 3 teams who will share the prize fund of 5000 €.
 
Head of Digital Transformation and Regulatory Programmes, Jacob Thuren Falkenham, believes that the key to winning the first place was a unique approach to something that companies have been trying to solve for decades.

„While many organizations tend to fail to adapt new resources or desk management software, hackathon participants looked at the traditional challenges from a completely different perspective and managed to „crack the code“. With the solution, they are not only connecting people to desks, they connect people to people“, claims Jacob about the team “Cypherpunks” who caught everyone’s attention with the platform “Remotify”. 

The team, consisting of students and <FuturePros_IT/> programme participants Ema Darbutaitė, Agota Šuliokaitė, Aniket Chauhan, and a “Women Go Tech 2020” mentee Miglė Katinienė, was selected as the best. Their solution enables flexible workplace management, the joy of social interaction with colleagues and data-driven decisions. By managing the flow of employees at the office and inviting to come if it is possible to keep the safe distance, the platform allows to maintain a healthy balance between working remotely and from home. Besides, it collects and analyses data to optimize the use of offices spaces.

The best students team and the 2nd place nominees were group “Null Pointer”. Its members and students Marcin Vrublevski, Ernestas Konopliovas, Jaroslav Avižen, Oskar Sverčkov, Martin Čepulionis created an expertise finding and analyzing application that utilizes existing content management tools such as Confluence, Jira, to get the best matches.

The jury also acknowledged the most creative solution which was developed by the team “Test Drive”. The trio of Vaidas Gecevičius, Rytis Mikalauskas, Kasparas Kažemėkas introduced a digital solution which combines virtual reality and mind mapping techniques to enhance the collaboration experience.

Despite of working remotely, the groups maintained their team spirit and energy througout the entire weekend. The first-ever virtual Danske Bank hackathon in Lithuania gathered a diverse community of IT, software engineering, data analytics, multimedia students and specialists, innovation enthusiasts from Lithuania and abroad.  In the end, it was not only a competition – it was a learning journey with Danske Bank leaders‘ presentations, product development, pitching webinars and social interactions between the participants, mentors and organizers. While some ideas seem to be visionary, the change and the future is closer to the workplaces than ever before – let‘s embrace it.