Friday, 19 July 2013

Sneak Peek: Bright North Does a Hack Day, part I

It was only a couple of weeks ago that we were sat in our weekly team meeting getting to know our latest Bright Sparks, Herve and Mani, during their round of ‘CV secrets’, when J, our COO, announces that she’d secretly been planning a hack day for us all. We’re all kept in eager anticipation as – despite my best efforts to bribe J – our brief is kept under wraps until the end of the week.

This was the first hack we’d done as a team, so it was exciting to see how we would collaborate in a slightly different way and work together on a project outside of our comfort zone. Sure enough, at the end of the afternoon, we’d made some cool discoveries about team Bright North; how we each think and work together, and exactly why the processes we’re working to help us create great products for our clients. 

When the hack day finally came around, we were split into two teams and given the brief to create something awesome with publicly available data; the non-specific brief allowed us complete flexibility over our projects and method. 

Our team’s approach was to look at the range of public data we could work with, before identifying various problems that we could work towards solving. We then developed a set of core questions that we needed to ask of our data in order to help solve our imaginary client’s data problem before getting on with some guerrilla usability testing. Interestingly, the other team approached the brief from an entirely different perspective and based their ideation around Bright North’s values and our core principle: ‘will it make the boat go faster?’ before identifying their user’s needs.

It’s worth noting that, whilst all this glorious ideation was going on in the background, the senior management team were doing some…thought crystallisation of their own:



The details of either project will remain top secret until the end of part 2, when the products will be up on our website, but there were some interesting outcomes of our hack session; we learned more about some of the framework of principles from which we start our process and how we each come to generate ideas in different ways, with an appreciation of both disciplines of data and user experience.  We also ended the first session with a couple of concepts that we’re very excited to develop outside of our hack sessions. But for that, you’ll have to watch this space!