David Porter's hackathon story

In the summer of my first year at Pearson College London, I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity of completing a 12-week internship working with the Head of R&D and Innovation at Direct Line Group. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship there and was involved in a number of interesting projects, which came with a great deal of responsibility and autonomy. 

As my internship came to an end, we discussed the possibility of running an insurance-based idea generation hackathon as a joint event between Pearson College London and Direct Line Group. 

Before continuing, I realise that some of you may be wondering what a hackathon actually is! Originally, hackathons were intensive collaborative computer programming events.In the mid-late 2000s, they become popularised and are now widely used as intensive and fast-paced idea generation schemes (over 2-3 days) where teams of designers, developers and business gurus form around innovative ideas - these ideas are then pitched back to a panel of judges.

To help give me a better understanding of how best to run a hackathon, I attended an Aviva sponsored FinTech hackathon at Google Campus (where my team were awarded runners-up!), which gave me some invaluable learnings.

From a project management perspective it was quite a difficult task, particularly given that it was a multi-sited, two-day event with over 30 students participating. However, I really enjoyed the challenge - it definitely helped build my skill-base and confidence in a number of key areas (especially my networking ability, project management and pitching ability).