Jan 30, 2024 |

Igniting Innovation Through Our First Global AI Hackathon

Jelena Laketic, Distinguished Engineer

What can over 600 colleagues accomplish in two days dedicated to collaboration, experimentation, and innovation? The answer is a lot! Over the years, Thomson Reuters has held many hackathons, but last fall was our first annual Global AI Hackathon which brought together 612 colleagues globally, both in person at our locations in Bangalore, Zug, Sao Paolo, Eagan, and Mexico City, and virtually, spanning across five time zones.

Our approach to this Hackathon was unique, as it focused on balancing bottom-up with top-down innovation. Global AI Hackathon is a platform designed to drive our colleagues’ creativity, encourage innovation, leverage internal knowledge, and promote cross-collaboration to develop AI-powered solutions for existing challenges, put forward by leaders. The event enables colleagues to leverage their diverse skills and perspectives when working together and develop relationships outside of their current teams and products.

Challenge owners submitted challenges in advance and individuals (or teams) were able to sign up for a challenge that they were interested in solving, partnering with other colleagues who signed up for the same challenge as teammates.

By welcoming participants with different skill levels, the event fosters inclusivity and skills development opportunities for everyone. The hybrid setup of the Global Hackathon reflected the working environment of our colleagues and empowered everybody to get involved, join the team developing the solution of their liking, collaborate, and innovate regardless of their location and way of working. Nevertheless, even when working in the hybrid setup, the people attending in person appreciated the community atmosphere and having the breaks with their colleagues. At all 5 sites the colleagues engaged with lots of brainstorming, laughter, food, and even a musical performance took place.

So curious about what happened over those two days? Here’s a quick recap below:

  • 612 colleagues
  • 98 teams
  • 28 challenges
  • 5 time zones
  • 5 in-person hubs

What did this result in?

  • 21 challenge winners
  • 3 best overall winners
  • 2 best technical execution winners

We were very excited about the positive results from this event which truly demonstrates the high quality of the AI solutions teams built.

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive from those who participated. One colleague shared, “I am an AI enthusiast and have been following AI and Machine Learning for quite a while. I was very interested in being part of AI initiative. This Hackathon was an excellent opportunity for me to learn and apply my skills.”

Another colleague shared, “Thanks for organizing this and helping us explore our hidden potential.”

As a part of the next steps, the challenge owners have been partnering with winning teams to incorporate winning solutions into Thomson Reuters’ products and services, with the plan to continue implementing them throughout 2024.

Following the success of this year’s Global AI Hackathon, we are excited to share that our next, Global AI Hackathon 2024 is scheduled for June 5th and 6th 2024. Stay tuned for updates on this Hackathon! If you are interested in learning more about our technology jobs at Thomson Reuter, check them out and apply online today.