ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–What was initially dubbed a “Hackathon” actually turned into a game of “Knockout” here, as 100 CU technology execs competed to create innovative tech concepts over a 48-hour period.

“I was blown away. It was epic,” said PSCU CEO Michael Kelly of the two-day competition that took place here. “At the start there was nervous energy, excitement, a lot of Red Bull, candy and snacks, and then everyone buckled down and got down to work.”

In total, there were 87 participants comprising 21 teams, most of whom had set up shop at PSCU’s St. Petersburg, Fla. headquarters, although Kelly noted that some teams attended virtually from Arizona and Michigan. Among those in attendance were Community First CU of Florida, Finance Center CU, Interra Credit Union, State Department FCU, Teachers Credit Union and Texas Dow Employees CU.

The event was borne out of PSCU employees using internal ideation software, and grew to PSCU working with advisory groups comprised, in part, of credit union employees. And while it was first described as a “Hackathon,” Kelly said it was more so a “Knockout” event allowing for innovative ideas across all spectrums.

“Ideas submitted include fraud tools, marketing platforms, gamification apps, youth focused solutions, rewards and coupon programs and social media analytics,” said Kelly.

In all, 21 potential software solutions and ideas were presented to the judges, but not before teams hashed out respective concepts throughout the night and into the day on little or no sleep. “These people were going for 30 hours or more and still had gas in the tank.”

 

Judging Innovation

The panel of judges consisted of Matt Kerper, Google Payments Business Development; Donna Terman, MasterCardGroup Head of Innovation Management; PSCU’s EVP-Credit Union Experience Fredda McDonald, EVP-Credit Union Solutions Tom Grande, and VP-Innovations and Product Development Denise Stevens.

“Matt Kerper from Google came up to me amazed that with every single idea presented, the credit union member was at the center,” said Kelly. “And Donna Terman with MasterCard said she was impressed that two different credit unions could get together to work on one idea, because that doesn’t happen in the banking industry.”

Three ideas were selected as finalists, including:

* Teachers Credit Union’s team, Formula 501, entered $ My Way, a teen-friendly money management tool.

* PSCU’s Team MoNation entered a lost/stolen QR coded statement solution.

* Interra Credit Union and Finance Center Credit Union’s Team Revelation offered Receipt Snap, an innovative way to help consumers manage receipts.

Kelly said the panel is still deliberating. The first place winner, who will receive a Caribbean cruise, will be named before the end of the year with a potential rollout of the solution in 2013.

“What we wanted was to create an atmosphere where people could openly collaborate and it was amazing to see,” said Kelly, adding that the runners up will also be awarded prizes.

Kelly said the event will be conducted on an annual basis.

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