Team AlignMinds is immensely happy and excited to announce our glorious success at the global hackathon event conducted by DBS Bank, Singapore in association with Ideatory, which is one of the most promising technology startups in Singapore. AlignMinds has elevated a notch higher in its global rating and positioning with this consecutive success. We believe that this victory is a result of persistent hard work, impeccable process patterns and a highly focused mindset that was mutually shared and resonated by each of the team members. Each of us put in our best effort to follow the best practices with reference to Rapid prototyping and this helped us in spotting the right areas to focus and execute during the three day session.
Preparation for the event!
The news about the event reached us on the third week of October when Ideatory team member, Sudhanshu and Amrith contacted us and invited us for the event since we were the winners of the first hackathon event held on August 2014 (details can be read here). Once again, we wish to convey our gratitude to Ideatory team – Sudhanshu and Amrith in special for all their support and assistance.
It was a cold windy morning on 20th, October when we received the confirmation that AlignMinds was formally invited to participate in the hackathon event scheduled on 29th, 30th and 31st of October at DBS Asia Hub, Singapore. We were quick to respond and formed our hackathon team without delay. We had a couple of unanticipated setbacks since a few of our team members who participated in the first hackathon event were not available due to other international on-site assignment. However, this did not abate our interest to participate as we quickly restructured the team by collecting the best talents in the organization. We were led by Devanarayanan who is the CEO of AlignMinds Technologies and the mastermind behind each of our successes so far. The team also included Vishnu and Divya who handles Android development, Juny George, Jaigel Jose and Jackson Jacob who are veterans in User experience and User interface tasks and Sowmya Sarath who is our Senior technology evangelist and project coordinator. Last but not the least, I was fortunate to be able to take up the role of Business Intelligence analyst which gave me the chance to interact with the DBS team and build a smooth communication channel between the team members.
Day 1 : The first glance of Singapore!
Our backpacks were ready on October 27th and we boarded our dream flight to Singapore from Cochin International Airport by 11 30 PM. The whole team was bubbling with excitement, anxiety and hopes for a great event at Singapore. We landed at Singapore the next day and we were welcomed by a gorgeous city which mixed the right combination of technological and architectural excellence with an equal amount of greenery and cleanliness. We headed directly to our boutique hotel since we badly wanted some personal time to put ourselves in place and prepare for the pressure that were about to face on the next three days during the rapid prototyping session.
We were also invited to the ice breaking session that was scheduled at 5 PM that evening. After a quick nap, we started off to DBS Asia hub where the 5 other competitors, DBS team and Ideatory team members had gathered. It was a fun event where we met and interacted with our mentors and team members from DBS. Our team was being mentored by Francesca, and was accompanied by an awesome team that included Fen, Dong, Claren and Chew. During the evening session, we also had the opportunity to select the team name, team number and the challenge to be solved. Our team was named “Dream Catchers” and we were team number 2 in the list. The challenge that was assigned to us was to build a pre launch application for DBS that would popularize DBS bank in India and help gain maximum visibility among the users. Day 1 at Singapore was fairly smooth as we returned back to our couches to take rest and be ready for the first day of the hackathon.
Day 2: Hackathon was officially flagged off!
The first day of the hackathon saw the official flag off of the events by Raju Nair, Laurence and Cade. The agenda for the day included multiple short sessions which helped the teams to get the feel of how a rapid prototyping session and also helped us ingest the concept of “Customer Centric” development which was considered as the prime focus by the global CEO of DBS bank, Piyush Gupta.
On the other hand, our team was already brainstorming about the topics that had the “fire” to capture the indian smartphone users. We came across many different thoughts and opinions ranging from games to quiz applications. It was then that the concept of a Private social networking application was put up by our CEO, Dev. Within the next few minutes, we could feel the acceptance of each of the team members towards the topic and we decided that this is going to be our “success sutra” for this hackathon event. Without delay, we had started our preparations in the form of mind maps, sketches and basic functionality listing which helped us to visualize the scope of the application. We followed the concept of “Lean Loop” as per the instructions from the team mentors and this proved to be a great approach for the rapid prototyping process. By the end of the day, we had prepared a detailed idea about what the app would do and how would be design the app to do it. We wound up our tasks for the day with a wrap up session by Arjay and Cade. We finished our dinner and headed back to our room in the SMRT (Singapore Mass Rapid Transit).
Day 3: The actual “Hackathon” begins!
It was day The next critical task in our hands was to design a visually appealing user interface which has a highly optimized user experience flow. As this process required a high level of coordination between the design team and the functional and technical implementation team members, we decided that our team can take roles and split up. Based on this suggestion, the DBS team members in our team decided to share the tasks related to preparing and documenting the early customer feedback based on quick surveys. They also decided to work out the financial figures which would allow the DBS decision makers to visualize the ROI statistics of the app. We, on the other hand, had started working on full swing on the user interface and user flow aspects. Juny who is our lead UX architect was available on Skype conference call wherein he guided us through each and every design item in the app screens.
By lunch, we were ready with the initial set of flows that marked the foundation of the application. The rest of the day was kept aside for designing the remaining design items and preparing a structured flow based on the user action. By end of day 2, we were prepared with the designs and pages that allowed the Android developers to take over. Towards the end of the day, we took our status checks and listed out our tasks. At that point, we realized that we were going to have an exciting D day. On that expectation, we wrapped up for the day and returned to our rooms.
Day 4: The D Day!
We reached early on Friday (31st October) which was the D day of the event. We started working on the final touch ups and tweaks on the prototype to make sure that everything is in place. In the meantime, Fen, Claren, Chew and Dong had completed the surveys and come back with awesome news for us. It was reported that around 92.5% of the people surveyed expressed their acceptance towards the app concept. This was a huge boost for us and we made sure that every aspects related to aesthetics and functionality was optimized to the best of our ability.
Finally, at 16 : 15 Singapore time, we submitted our prototype for review along with all the other team members. We presented the app together and answered all the questions that were put in front of us. We were happy to see that the judges were able to realize the value of the concept. A flawless prototype and the right pitching of the app concept from our DBS teammates made it a wonderful presentation! By 18 : 30 Singapore time, the results were out and Dream Catchers were confirmed as the Winning Team in DBS hackathon 2014.
This event was surely a great one for AlignMinds as we got yet another opportunity to prove our skill in solving a business problem with limited time without limiting the quality standards. We also got the chance to work with some wonderful team mates and each of those moments will be treasured by our team @ AlignMinds. We wish to thank each of the staffs at DBS Singapore and Ideatory for providing us this great chance to build a concept that will surely be a game changer for DBS in India! After the 4 days of unlimited fun, excitement, productivity and a great result, we have taken home a lot of learning from this event and we are sure that this will help us nail the next challenge put across to us by DBS!