Working away on perfecting his LEGO® Minecraft robot on what was not quite another day at the office, Rolf Bollmann decided to skip the last train home:
"Why not stay," he explained with a smile. Together with his colleague Jan Nielsen, Bollmann presented two robots - one software, one hardware - at Nets' hackathon. When synchronised, the two robots could undertake routine manual tasks such as pressing a key, waiting and then pressing another.
The competition was not taken lightly by the more than 60 participants who battled in 15 teams to win the third annual Nets hackathon. Having flown in from all locations across the Nordics, the employees were working together on building the future of the payments industry, no less.
Hard to pick a winner
Having had 30 hours to generate and prove their ideas, and with only four minutes to pitch them to the jury, competition was tight. The teams presented ideas spanning from optimising the in-store consumer payment experience, developing an app to ease NGO fundraising or, slightly closer to the daily working life, a corporate manager dash board limiting the time spent accepting roles etc. in the so-called Identity Manager (IDM).
The jury, consisting of the cross-organisational unit Technology's management, was impressed by the efforts and know-how displayed by all the teams:
"It is so energising to see the dedication and creativity of our participants – it's given us all such a boost of energy," says Pia Jørgensen, Group Executive Vice President and Group CIO.
The quality of the pitches made it hard to pick a winner, but a solution building value-adding services on existing technology convinced the jury:
"We had a hard time choosing the winner, but the winning team presented an innovative solution which could benefit both merchants and consumers," says Pia Jørgensen, sporting a black T-shirt with the name of the hackathon event printed on its front.
The jury also decided to continue working with the runner-up as well - a data-based pricing algorithm that could lead to a whole new business adventure for Nets.
Innovation is serious business
With an aim to ensure faster time to market, Nets introduced Digital Innovation in 2016, consisting of the Digital Lab along with two teams working with User Experience and Engineering. The Digital Lab prototypes and builds proofs of concept in transformative and emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, biometrics, Blockchain, robotics, Virtual Reality and more, with stakeholders across the business and in close dialogue with end-users, customers and fintech start-ups.
The lab environment allows Nets to try out new ideas that go beyond the scope of daily tasks in the organisation. Digital Innovation also hosts the company's strategic blockchain partnership with Coinify.