In May 2016 we at Nimbletank hosted a hackathon for the mobile and tablet product teams at John Lewis. The objective of the day was to harness visual search to improve discovery, engagement, joy, conversion and ultimately generate ROI for John Lewis. The basic premise was that all teams could do what they want as long as it used visual search in some way.
The video from the day enjoy!
First part of the day started early, half 8 to be precise to allow us to ensure the office was ready for 16 members of the John Lewis team - working alongside many of the Nimbletank experience, visual design and engineering team. Once the intro to the day was done by Naji and rules laid out the teams got to choose what problem they wanted to solve. Once the team had their problem they went off into their own teams and rooms to start brainstorming how they were going to solve them using visual search.
At this point each team moved at different speeds some went straight into development and other did mini Google design sprints. In the end each team had to produce a 5-minute presentation and working coded demo. This was important as having a working prototype meant that the developers had a chance to get under the skin of the technology and could find any potential pitfalls so that if the idea was to be implemented in the future then there would not be as much of a surprise. That being said the demo was not everything each team had to deliver as they had five minutes to fill and they were judged on 4 parts not just the demo:
- Code completion
- Commercial viability
- Value to the end user
Overall this meant that the presentation had to prove that what they had come up with truly would benefit users and have some form of commercial viability usually with teams doing extremely quick bits of research to test hypotheses.
When it got to the end of the day we had 3 judges:
- Sean O’Connor, Head of Online Product & Customer Experience at John Lewis
- Chris Minas, Founder and CEO of Nimbletank
- David Skerrett, Managing Partner at Nimbletank
What did the teams create
In the short time they had teams managing to produce apps that could help you with your personal shopper experience all the way to making use of the displays at the front of the shop to find the right jacket for you.
In the end there could only be one winner and it was a team that managed to make an app that utilised the visual search engine to help make the perfect room design. Like a certain sofa and want a lamp to match well with their app you can find it easily.
Overall it was a very successful day and allowed John Lewis to do a day of team building and experimenting in a very cost effective and fun way.