Published on in RetailNews

Last month, we hosted an all-day Hackathon with Home Retail Group to help charities explore new ways of thinking and drive innovation.

For us at Fujitsu, the transformative power of digital for the private sector and the third sector is one and the same thing.

The goal of this event was to seed the concept of taking a different approach to tackling problems within an organisation by using technology. Each charity which attended was aiming to leave with at least one idea which could be built out and then implemented.

Bringing together the power of leading thinkers from Home Retail Group, Accenture, and Fujitsu; two charities had the opportunity to collaborate and develop their own innovative ideas. Hackathon. Winning team 3

Breakout sessions saw attendees generate initial thoughts, which were evolved into concepts and then prototypes. These were then presented back to everyone who attended.

RISE founder and trustee, Sanju Pal, said: “We had not been to an event like this before, so we were excited to be involved.

“We understood it to be a great collaborative opportunity to dive into challenges the charity is facing, and then work with experts to find innovative technology solutions to our issues.

“The team were so engaged in trying to understand the charity’s issues and they came up with some great ideas for apps.

“This included an idea to better connect our students in the UK with rural India through creating profiles that you can flick through find out more about lives, hobbies, interests, experiences, and using photos a bit like Snapchat.”

Henrietta Baring, Head of Argos IT, said: “Leading up to the event, our hopes were fundamentally to support our respective charities. We also wanted to demonstrate that as a cohesive team, we can meet the challenges they face and deliver innovative ideas to address those challenges while having fun along the way.

“The experience was energetic, inspiring, and heart-warming. I was blown away at how creative and innovative our teams were, and it made me very proud to be part of it.”

After an energetic day, the overall winning idea was a solution for Macmillan called Buddy Brilliant. The app aimed to support individuals facing cancer in not experiencing it alone and gain the support they need.

The idea came off the back of research which shows patients diagnosed with the two most common types of cancers could reduce their risk of dying by walking just one mile a day. The app would find and assign the user with buddy which they could then take a walk with, addressing one of Macmillan’s core values of not facing cancer alone.

Will Gogerty, Macmillan ‎Partnership Development Manager, said:
“There were a number of real IT experts in the room, so we were very looking forward to see how they approach the projects we sent over.

“At no stage did the energy levels appear to drop. All the teams looked to work together in a really collaborative way there was a clear team ethic running through the whole day.

“When the groups presented back you could tell that they had worked really hard on coming up with a solution and their enthusiasm really shone through. I didn’t envy the job of the judges as the decision must have been a really hard one!” Hackathon.Group photo

Summing up the event, Jon Wrennall, Fujitsu Fellow and CTO UK & Ireland, said it was very important for Fujitsu to support shaping the future of tomorrow with Fujitsu customers and partners.

He said: “I think the Hackathon was a great success and we have had great feedback from everyone who was involved.

“It was the sheer energy of the event and the amount that was collectively achieved that was a great example of what can be done when you get the right people with a ‘Can Do’ attitude focused on making a difference.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the ideas turned into a reality for all, and a potential reuse across the broader charity sector.”

If you would like to find out more about RISE you can volunteer for a school workshop at or make a donation to the charity on For more information on Macmillan and how to get involved read more here.

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