‘Hackathon’ where have you been all my life??!!…………………

Today I had the absolute pleasure to attend my first Hackathon with the hashtag #EXHack for those that interested to see the stream of awesome tweets that represent todays event. Thank you sincerely Perry @PerryTimms for the invite.

Before the event even got started I had the pleasure to meet probably one of the warmest human beings I have met in a long time (apart from my fiancé 5 years ago – just saying! ) Jo Southwell-Sander @Jo_SSander Jo works in Diversity & Inclusion for FDM and truly espouses the passion and sincere desire to make a difference in her field, which she is clearly doing.

• Could you codify your stakeholder experience? (my words)

Lara @_Lara_HR advised that she and her team/colleagues have been working to codify their stakeholder experience, the result of which has been:

EX x CX = SX

with EX being employee experience, CX= customer experience and SX = Shareholder experience.

What I personally love about this approach is that probably for the first time in my 40 years on this small plant called Earth, I can see a genuinely, fully aligned view of the world that puts people, at the centre (ok to the left for those that may be pedantic ;-)), customers AND shareholders all in the same equation.

How many times have we seen in an annual report “human capital cost of XX” as if people are an opportunity cost to making money or achieving top performance.  Huge congratulations to Lara for this work so far, it could be game changing and I sincerely believe is a big step forward in regaining humanity in the workplace, at just the right time to combine it with the exponential technological developments that will continue to come.

Also “Recognition = Empowerment” advised Lara, “It is not employee of the month”.  This for me was also a very powerful reflection and the more I think about it, the more impactful it becomes.

Also of personal interest to me was to this following slide which is literally as it states, a paradigm shift in ultimately trusting those on the front line who are dealing with customers, suppliers, unions, whatever to do their best work. This has quite some resonance with me when linking this to the Freedom at Work movement of @WorldBlu i.e. helping 1bn people live without fear


To coin David Marquet “move the decisions to where the information is.” I am very excited at this triangulation of both theory and practice coming together.

Up next was Lesley Giles @LesleyGiles2123 from the work foundation who talked about the importance of developing an employee experience that allows people to do ‘Good Work.’ This is the first time that I have heard this phrase and must say I quite like it. It is humble, considered but far from commonplace in many of our remaining command and control senior leadership structures.

Lesley emphasised that we are not being philanthropists here; we are looking to align the core purpose of work with who we are as humans (my take on the message) Lesley also referenced megatrends briefly and I feel this is a very important point when we are looking at why, how and what (deliberate Simon Sinek reference) we want to improve with regards the human experience, there are global megatrends as outlined by PwC that should also not be far from our minds:


Global Megatrends

Then it was the turn of your friend and mine, Mr Perry Timms to take us through what a Hackathon is, how the 4 sprints would work and what the ultimate objective was of our time together today:


So as to not drag on too long in this blog, I offer some photos below of my team and I (Stella Heskey from Addison Lee, Emily of FDM and Sammy of FDM) in action and also some of the other learning takeaways that I took home with me personally after such an impassioned, inspiring and thought provoking morning:

1) Humanity is making a comeback!

It is so inspiring to see that across 6 completely different groups of people, many of whom met for the first time today, that the deep rooted desire to make work more humane comes through loud and clear

2) EX x CX = SX – You will see more of this I am sure

3) Recognition = Empowerment (this will stay with me forever as it is so simple in its understanding, yet so powerful as a reminder)

4) Senior leaders need to truly start doing that more – get out of the way of your peers that are dealing at the coalface.

Support them yes, given them the tools if needed, but get out of the way and allow them to get on with good, value adding work through deep empowerment and a desire to make a difference

5) I have seen more innovation and creativity in 3 hours today than I have seen in the past 12 months in other areas, genuine comment. The power of humanity to come together with an open mind, an open heart and desire to collaborate is so powerful. Margaret Heffernan @M_Heffernan would be super supportive of this Hackathon

6) One group came up with the amazing idea of an L&D initiative called “our shared story” where as a newcomer or during on-boarding, their journey would be added to that of the rest of the organisation.  This could also aid succession planning and steering of different peoples careers.  Super story-telling innovation

7) I have completely chucked my self awareness and assertiveness learning module in the bin that I will deliver at 10am tomorrow Fri 7th July morning !? Why? after talking to the lovely @wearehabit Flick today, I have realised and seen just how ‘preachy’ my session was going to be tomorrow (in the nicest possible way!)

So what will I do!? Have a guess?…………Yup, I am going to ask the 5 delegates to hack their own answers to the learning objectives that they have offered in advance…

I am already more excited about the session tomorrow now it will more active, more engaging and more empowering – they have the answers as well as or maybe more than me thus I will take above advice and ‘get out of the way.’

8) Hakathons are for everyday business hacks as well as software development hacks

Than you to one and all for an incredibly inspiring day.  Lets go hacking (legally!) …..


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