At the F10 FinTech Hackathon in Zurich, about 100 software developers, web designers, finance experts, businesspeople, marketing wizards and lateral thinkers from all over the world come together to boost innovation in the finance industry. How can participants with different backgrounds cooperate effectively?
Develop innovative solutions, learn from your teammates and exchange knowledge with people from other countries and continents at the biggest FinTech Hackathon in Europe. Team building will take place on Friday evening and please do not worry if you attend the Hackathon alone. Many participants coming from various backgrounds will be looking for teammates and you will find a like-minded group to join or build a fantastic team with other attendants following the same mission. To facilitate cooperation within the Hackathon groups, we have listed the main ingredients for fruitful teamwork.
1. Complementary skills
We strongly recommend the participants to form complementary-skills teams to benefit as much as possible from each team member’s talents and abilities. The limitations of people’s information-processing capacity make it impossible for one individual to solve multi-faceted problems – such as tackling the challenges that the global finance industry is currently facing – on their own. Bringing people with different know-how and abilities together does not only compensate for the shortcomings of each team member, but also leads to more objective decisions as people from different backgrounds often also have different styles and approaches to solving problems. According to the Association for Project Management, “teamworking is most effective when people with complementary skills and behaviours are committed to a common objective and method of working”.
Besides different skill sets, teams should also aim for cultural and gender diversity as diverse teams perform better than homogenous groups. “Diverse teams are more likely to re-examine facts and remain objective constantly. They may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their cognitive resources sharp and vigilant”, a Harvard Business Review article finds. Greater diversity may also change the way teams digest information needed to make decisions.
3. Clear objectives
A blog post by the career planning advisor “The Balance Careers” states that “team members must have an overall mission that is agreed upon, and that provides the umbrella for all that the team tries to do.” Good teams always stay focused on their goals. Make sure every team member is on the same page regarding the aim of the activities being realized within the next 48 hours. Do you want to tackle one of the four Hackathon challenges? Is every member of the group aware that the ideas need to be transferrable into a business solution? Have fun, connect with inspiring people and enjoy tasty midnight snacks with your new Hackathon friends – but never lose focus on the purpose of the coding get-together: to further innovation in the finance industry.
“What do you hear about great groups? Not that the members are all really smart, but that they listen to each other. They share criticism constructively. They have open minds. They are not autocratic”, organizational behaviour expert Anita Woolley explained in an interview with Harvard Business Review. Every team member should feel free to express their thoughts, opinions and potential solutions. Pay attention to the inputs of your teammates and respect other perspectives. Show all the members of your group that you appreciate their openness and courage to reveal their thoughts.
5. Active listening
In successful teams, “people feel as if they are heard out and listened to by team members who are attempting to understand. Team members ask questions for clarity and spend their thought time listening rather than forming rebuttals”, according to the blog post by “The Balance Careers”. Listen actively to your teammates, ask relevant questions and signal that you understand what the other person is saying.