Tech Jam sparks innovation from the ground up

Hackathons usually bring to mind images of coders, software developers and designers working feverishly at computers to discover innovative solutions. While they've typically been associated with tech firms or startups, TD is no stranger to hackathons and recently hosted its fourth #ThinkDigital Tech Jam to generate new ideas and foster a culture of innovation.

The challenge? Identify digital and mobile solutions to help employees do their jobs more effectively and deliver a better experience to bank customers.

The event drew participants from 20 teams across the bank for an immersive 40-hour session of ideation, design and presentations. Tech Jams are non-technical by design, a strategy that encourages inclusion, innovation and participation from all parts of the bank. Diverse perspectives bring a wide range of talents to spur a grassroots movement toward agile and digital thinking.

"Financial services is very much a technology business today," says Janice Withers, CIO, TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, and one of the event's executive judges. "The more our technology folks understand the business and our business folks understand technology, the better solutions we'll be able to drive."

Teams worked over the weekend, developing concepts, testing ideas and creating solutions before presenting to senior executive judges at the bank.  Despite the long hours, participant Sagar Kumar says the hackathon was eye-opening and rewarding.

"The biggest takeaway for me is the critical thinking," says Kumar. "Tech Jam really takes you out of your comfort zone to know what your strengths are, and know what your weaknesses are. The experience has been amazing."

All of the concepts will be considered for development. TD's previous Tech Jams in Canada led to bank-wide implementation of winning concepts.