dunnhumby proud to sponsor Hack Manchester

10 November 2017

MANCHESTER, United Kingdon – ​During the recent Halloween weekend dunnhumby was proud to sponsor Hack Manchester, a 25-hour (yes, the clock change!) hackathon run in conjunction with Manchester Science Festival.

With over 200 entrants taking their pick from eight different challenges, it was a fantastic chance for us to engage with the ever-growing Manchester tech community. As a challenge sponsor we were able to set a task and this year we challenged competitors to use technology to enhance the retail experience for a customer at home or in store, and it’s safe to say we were not disappointed with what they came up with! 

We had a wide variety of entries into our challenge including:

  • Facial recognition to determine customer sentiment
  • “Supermarket Sweep” style challenges to complete a shopping list in a certain amount of time
  • Using your phone to scan and pay for items to avoid queues at the checkout
  • Apps which counted calories as you scanned your items for those on a diet
  • Geo-aware shopping lists which would tell you when you were close to a shop that sold items on your list
  • Apps which would guide you the most efficient way around the store, recommending items related to your basket on route

However, the winning team was “OmbudsMonster” a team sent by the Ombudsman service with a fantastic app for entertaining children while shopping. The app built a monster out of the items scanned by the child while their parent is shopping. Their monster could end up with a banana and a chocolate bar for legs, a packet of biscuits for a body and an apple for a head. Once the monster was built, the team planned to expand the app to allow children to fight their monsters and ultimately keep them happy while parents shop in peace. We loved OmbudsMonster’s creativity and the team thoroughly deserved the winning spot!



As challenge sponsors, we could also send a team of developers to compete in the hack. Four dunnhumby colleagues from our Manchester office stepped up to the challenge, Daniel Barnett, Jamie Cunliffe, Martin Savickis and Gary Bowers. They chose the Ombudsman’s challenge to “create something that will make a consumer even angrier when registering a complaint”. Our team got their thinking caps on, trying to think of the last time they received truly awful service, and imagining what would have made this experience even worse.

The finished idea was to implement a voice-controlled text based adventure game and a form which could only be completed using the phonetic alphabet of the Royal Navy 1914-1918 (which of course, everyone should know by heart!). Our intrepid team made the process of making a complaint incredibly infuriating and were runners up in their category!

We were absolutely thrilled with the uptake of our challenge and the wide variety of ideas that were generated during the hackathon. A huge thanks to all those who organised the event and took part, it was a fantastic weekend to be part of.