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FARFETCH DataHack 2020

By Tania Jones
Tania Jones
A love for building communities and riding on my new MTB. Dreaming about owning a Bottega Veneta clutch.
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FARFETCH DataHack 2020
At the heart of FARFETCH lies the value ‘Todos Juntos’, a Portuguese phrase meaning all together, and in the time of a global pandemic, these two words resonate stronger than ever. A true reflection of our Todos Juntos spirit was our global workforce coming together to participate in our first-ever virtual data ‘hackathon’.
Data is at the forefront of every business decision we make - from the people we hire to our unrivalled customer experience and our forward-thinking concepts such as the Store of the Future. Speaking about the data hackathon, Chief Data Officer Kshitij Kumar said, "Enthusiastic attendance and real problems were solved. Spanning everything from consumer experience to sustainability, the innovative spirit of FARFETCH was very visible in the solutions presented. The teams created data models, using internal data with analytics and machine learning, together making a major impact in our Data Literacy ambitions”.
With over 200 participants across several countries, the hack day saw representation from almost every department at FARFETCH, including Marketing, Product, Operations, FTech, Private Client, Customer Experience, Innovation, and Store Of The Future. We had equal participation from Farfetchers in teams as well as individually, an incredible show of how connected our workforce is across the globe.
The hack week started with sessions from our partners including Google, Microsoft and Databricks. An afternoon well spent with our teams being introduced to their tools and its use case in e-commerce.

On July 28, Michele Di Gangi (Director of Data) along with our domain experts Adam Cartlidge (Senior Director of Customer Acquisition), Natalie Varma (Head of Insights), Su Ahn (VP, Customer Excellence), Luis Carvalho (VP, Architecture) and Stephen Eggleston (VP, Commercial) came together to host a panel discussion on big unsolved problems that they face in their fields where Data might be able to help reduce costs and drive efficiencies, while still improving the customer experience. This culminated into an exciting discussion and important takeaways for the teams.

When asked about his experience hosting the panel, Michele Di Gangi (Director of Data) said "In the panel, it was very interesting to see how part of the group, that we might think as not strictly influencing the customer experience (for example Commercial, Ops, Architecture) are actually contributing to that goal very significantly. Data, at the end of the day, is the glue that connects all the dots and enables a great overall customer experience.”
July 30, the day of the hack, saw teams connecting over Slack, jumping on video calls and interacting with people across the organisation to drive a data-driven impact on their ideas. Teams spent an average of eight to twelve hours hacking and some of the unique ideas that came forward were: cloud storage for customer wardrobes, reinventing the fitting room and individualised FARFETCH Avatars amongst others. By 23:59 GMT on the day of the hack, teams were required to submit prototypes or a POC (proof of concept) of their solution, along with a five-minute video explanation.

The next day our C-level judges - Kshitij Kumar (Chief Data Officer), Gareth Jones (Chief Marketing Officer), Stephanie Phair (Chief Customer Officer) and Cipriano Sousa (Chief Technology Officer ) were given the below six criteria to assess the teams:

Image: Judging criteria

Initial entries were assessed by individual judges resulting in the shortlisting of four finalists who were then assessed collectively by all four judges. There were four awards up for grabs: Winner Award, Runner-up Award, Popular Choice Award and a special Moonshot Award for that team whose revolutionary idea would be implemented further.

The popular choice award was announced a week after the submissions so as to allow our global workforce of more than 4,500 Farfetchers enough time to watch and vote for their favourite teams.

Raquel Peixoto of team BEYONDATA said, "Participating in a Data Hack is always challenging! Participating in a virtual Data Hack is even more! It was an excellent opportunity to think about our business and how we can contribute to put customers at the heart of Farfetch.

Fabio Seichi from team BRACK said, " The experience was empowering. It made us leave our comfort zone, and be more hands-on towards what we want the business to be. #ThinkGlobal & #AmazeCustomers.”

Melissa Lim of team OFFLINE COOKIE MONSTER said, "I loved being able to collaborate with Farfetchers I don't normally work with to brainstorm and come up with a brilliant idea. Throughout the 24-hour day, we each worked on different aspects of the proof-of-concept, calculating potential impact on profitability, diagramming how data would flow through the Farfetch platform, and of course, scripting and filming our demo video"

As mentioned earlier, the moonshot award was for those ideas that were revolutionary and that could be implemented beyond just the scope of the hackathon. We were delighted to find not one, not two but 14 such ideas worthy of the same. The teams were Lion, Green, Octohack, Beauty & the Beast, Optimization, One Size Doesn’t Fit All, Drum & Bayes, Paranormal Distribution, Tell Me Y, Significantly Different and our winning teams. All the judges felt that awarding only one team would not be fair as each of these teams had put in a significant effort in their submission and needed to be pursued further. 

As Stephanie Phair (Chief Customer Officer) rightly pointed out "It was amazing to see how aligned to our Objective & Key Results (OKRs) each team’s submission were and the fact that everyone was able to create something in a collaborative remote environment was definitely a win in itself”.

The event was a tremendous joint effort by 8 organisers, 5 mentors, 200 participants and 4 C-level judges. It was a truly amazing experience being connected to our global workforce and for our participants to have 1:1 time with our leaders. We at Farfetch are continuously focused on building a strong data-driven culture, aiming to create one of the best collaborative data communities in the world.

Image: Feedback from our participants
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