IBM and Swedish bank Nordea arranged a hackathon called Nordea Innovation Challenge in downtown Stockholm in late November. The theme: “Banking of the Future.”

I attended together with four colleagues from Spotify, and at the end of the hack we were super proud to claim the 20’000 SEK first prize with our Spending Visualizer, heavily inspired by FourSquare’s Time Machine.

Our contribution - A "spending visualiser" that plots a banking customer's purchases over the last year on a map.

My key learnings to win a hackathon is that you should focus on the prototype’s front-end, presentation, idea, front-end again. Let what the jury is looking for, e.g. the hackathon theme or utilised tools inspire the idea. A good hackathon jury has listed how the prioritise the different aspects of every hack. Unless the hackathon has a clear relation to a specific backend, I’d recommend spending as little time on the backend as possible. (This hackathon was strongly linked to IBM’s Bluemix platform, which all contributions was building upon. Part of the jury’s valuation was creative ways to utilise Bluemix.)

Team Nerdea

Forced team picture time! Team Nerdea - Per-Olov Jernberg, Faruk Emre Sahin, Katarzyna Drzyzga, me (José Manuel Perez Perez missing but is displayed in the mobile phone held up by Per-Olov if you really zoom in.)