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Hackathon –The DCB Bank way to raise awareness and foster innovation

DCB Bank Innovation Carnival seeks to revolutionize the way banking and financial services are delivered by harnessing innovation and technology to enhance accessibility. It provides great environment for students, developers, domain experts and start-ups to showcase innovative solutions

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Today organisations believe that continuous innovation is the key to competitive differentiation. Being an innovative organisation means to create new ideas and realize them in the real world.

The world of banking and finance is changing drastically. Technology is transforming the way financial service providers interact with their customers, just as it is also changing the way consumers access financial products.

We run an innovation program – “DCB Bank Innovation Carnival” that’s always on and sitting at the centre of our innovation ecosystem. There are many parts to this program, and one of them is hackathon.

DCB Bank Innovation Carnival seeks to revolutionize the way banking and financial services are delivered by harnessing innovation and technology to enhance accessibility. It provides great environment for students, developers, domain experts and start-ups to showcase innovative solutions. By building effective partnerships with other organisations, encouraging internal team building and consulting with our customers, our innovations become not only unique but meaningful too.

Leveraging DCB Bank’s and other organisation’s  digital and technology expertise, “DCB Bank Innovation Carnival” is created to fast-track Fintech experiments by providing a complete ecosystem to ideate, develop, test and refine solutions with industry experts serving as mentors. We have seen the hackathon as a great launch pad for DCB Bank Innovation Carnival. Hackathon can be virtual or physical staged events. A hackathon is an amazing opportunity to develop and introduce new solutions to the market faster.

The Bank follows a 4-step innovation hackathon framework:

  1. Discovery – the first step of the process is the discovery of use cases.DCB Bank figures out what can get done and generate as many ideas, based on the problem we identify in the discovery stage. At times, we validate ideas or prototypes with real customers or users. This is very important phase for innovation. At times, we conduct innovation workshops among business users to identify real problems and relevant use cases. We concentrate on developing products that are meaningful for business and fulfil customer expectations.
  2. Preparation –we collaborate with pillars of innovation,partners,corporate,start-ups,academia andprepare plan to execute pre, during and post hackathon processes. We decide timelines and responsibilities of each of stakeholder. Here collaboration plays a major role for success. We identify mentors and subject matter expert with in organisation or external influencer from industry. We create lot of awareness sessions and webinar among participants and within the organisation before the execution phase. It is an exciting way that   demands collaboration and encourages participants.
  3. Execution – we chose the 30-hour format for physical events and 4 months for virtual events. In this phase,the ideas are evaluated and the best ones are shortlisted. This is followed by the development of a prototype, then a feasibility study, and if all goes well, bringing the idea to market. We invite mentors, subject matter experts to deliver expert sessions and workshops. Thus, our hackathons become continuous 2-Way journey process apart from delivering prototype and its presentation. On the surface, the hackathon is a fun way to push boundaries and think laterally. Nevertheless, it has also become one of our most inspiring events, a crucible for encouraging, celebrating and rewarding unique ideas.
  4. Continuous Innovation -we identify areas of improvement in current use cases and solutions with the help of stakeholders.The Bank keeps experimenting and sustaining innovation that improves existing products. We also look at disruptive innovation that helps create a new market and value network. We understand the theory of disruptive innovation.Sustainable innovation gives rise to disruption innovation, and at times, this process is repetitive more so in the tech ecosystem. Disruptive innovation today might be sustainable innovation of tomorrow. Therefore, organizations need to understand the innovation phase they are in, and continuously make innovation a culture,to stay abreast of the innovation curve.

Hackathon fosters the process of continuous innovation for us. It is a playground for exploring possibilities.  Start-ups teams turn ideas into tested concepts or concepts into implemented experiments. The start-ups teams work in small groups in a unique environment that encourages creative thinking and leads to surprisingly innovative new concepts, ideas, and prototypes. The result of the hackathon could be finished prototype for an innovative product, service or new business model. Successful hackathon is journey of multiple hackathons and collaboration among stakeholders e.g. start-ups, mentors, corporates, experts.

As an innovative Bank, we have learnt how crucial it is to collaborate – with governments, partners, stakeholders, corporates, agile start-ups, academia and demanding consumer groups. The actual journey of innovation starts from a hackathon and helps the organisation foster continuous innovation. The hackathon presents a new way to collaborate and a great way to keep us on our toes.

Authored by R Venkattesh, President and Head Operations, Technology at DCB Bank

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