The BOLT Asset Management Hackathon was created to provide a safe ‘free-to-fail’ space for collaborative problem solving on asset management challenges.
In late 2018, nine interdisciplinary teams participated across three events where they collaborated on real world challenges faced by asset managers.
Teams defined a problem and worked together through a structured and facilitated process to develop a solution. The teams then prepared and presented a pitch for their concept to the group. Participants gained skills in collaborative problem solving, appreciated the value of diversity, improved their confidence and learned a process that they could apply in their workplace.
Use of Asset Management best practice
Asset managers typically work in complex, high risk environments where safety is paramount and adherence to strict protocols is required. This can have the effect of
discouraging innovation if there is limited scope to test new ideas. The BOLT Asset Management Hackathon provided an opportunity for participants to explore innovative
ideas in a low consequence setting. Leadership Leadership is a fundamental of asset management and skills in innovative thinking and collaborative problem solving are essential for leaders in any industry. The BOLT Asset Hackathon experience helped participants to develop their essential leadership skills including communication, collaboration, stakeholder engagement and decision making. Participants developed their leadership skills in a number of ways:
- Engaged in cross-disciplinary collaboration
- Improved their understanding of the value of diversity
- Defined how value is created for stakeholders
- Framed a problem in terms of its contribution to value creation
- Understood the importance of the human case in making a persuasive pitch
- Improved their confidence in engaging with stakeholders on asset management
- Prepared and delivered a presentation for an audience
- Spoke to broadcast camera in an interview with a professional film producer
- Enhanced their networking skills
The purpose of asset management is to create value for stakeholders through assets. In
defining their asset management challenge teams were encouraged to consider how a
potential solution would create value. This was framed in terms of how solving that
problem would reduce risk, reduce cost, or improve performance.
Value created was one of the criteria for assessment of the best pitch prize.
The design of the BOLT Asset Management Hackathon ensured that teams were cross-disciplinary, to encourage diversity of thought and nurture collaboration and alignment between different functional areas. One of the key learnings of participants was that they can add value by seeking diverse inputs from outside their own discipline and that every part of the business has a contribution to make in creating value for stakeholders, by solving asset management challenges.
The BOLT process gave teams the opportunity to validate their ideas within a group of their peers. This asset management fundamental was important to the projects worked on by teams. These include, assuring rigour in asset management decision making, assuring integrity of data, assuring improved asset performance, assuring integrated processes and assuring value creation. A full list of team projects is included later in this submission.
Degree of originality & ingenuity
To our knowledge this is the first time globally that a hackathon style event has been held with a specific focus on asset management. The concept of the BOLT Hackathon took an approach that has been used successfully in other settings and applied it to an asset management context.
The BOLT process encouraged diversity of input and collaboration across disciplines. Some participants did not have previous experience in asset management but had a lot to contribute to the problem-solving environment.
Participant professions included:
- Chief financial officers
- Data scientists
- Communications professionals
- Information technology specialists
- Sustainability professionals
- Emergency services
- Power generation
- Property and facilities management
- Building and construction
- Defence industries
- Information technology providers
- Environmental management consultants
- Sustainability advisors
- Consulting engineers
- Asset management consultants
- Industry bodies
- Communications firms
- Law firms
Team pitches were assessed on three criteria: Innovation, Impact and Influence. These represent the Technical case, the Business case and the Human case. By focussing on these three areas, participants were encouraged to go beyond creating a technical solution to ensure that they also created value for the organisation and meaning for
This ensured that teams took a holistic approach to the problem-solving process and encompassed all areas of importance to effective asset management including technical excellence and business value, but also embracing the important leadership aspects of communication and stakeholder engagement.
Program & Project Management
Three events were held in late 2018, in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Nine teams of three to five participated across the three events. Each BOLT event was run over 12 hours, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and followed a structured process. The event was facilitated by Dr Monique Beedles.
Venues for the events were chosen for their interest from an asset management perspective. The Gabba stadium in Brisbane, the former Quarantine station in Sydney and
the Royce Hotel, formerly an automotive showroom, were examples of how assets can be repurposed for an extended life, or used for functions beyond their primary purpose. The structure of the event included an hour at the start of the day dedicated to problem definition. Teams collaborated over a working breakfast to choose the problem they would work on during the hackathon. By 9:00 am each team had a clearly articulated problem statement that they shared with the wider group. This structure was used to ensure that excessive time was not wasted on problem definition that would take away from time spent on problem solving.
Teams were then guided through three 90-minute BOLTs, each with a specific focus that progressed the collaborative decision-making process.
In the latter part of the day, participants focussed on developing their team pitch and preparing their presentation to the group. Team presentations were filmed and participants also had the opportunity to give a personal interview with a professional film producer to a broadcast camera.
At the conclusion of presentations, a cocktail function was held to give participants an opportunity to network in a relaxed environment. During this time, a prize was awarded to the team judged to have the best pitch presentation.
Value to the Asset Management Community
The BOLT Hackathon events created value for the asset management community by building the skills of asset managers across all asset management fundamentals of
leadership, value, alignment and assurance. The framework of the events was specifically designed to create a safe environment for innovative thinking and creative problem solving.
The BOLT Hackathon events encouraged collaboration between asset management professionals and between asset management professionals and those in other
disciplines. This helps to expand the reach and influence of asset management beyond those currently practising in the profession.
The three BOLT events held in 2018 were fully funded by Teak Yew at no cost to participants.
Value to Individual Participants
Individual participants benefited from developing their leadership skills, particularly in the areas of collaboration, communication and stakeholder engagement. They learned skills and tools for innovative thinking that they could apply in their workplace. Participants also improved their confidence in pitching ideas and expanded their networks both within and beyond asset management.
Individual participants have expressed their views on the value they gained from the BOLT Hackathons. These are documented in the final section of this submission and include two short videos.
Value to Participant’s Organisations
Participants took back to their organisations a process that they could apply immediately in their workplace. Some teams consisted of people from the same organisation who worked on a real-world challenge that was immediately relevant to them.
These teams benefited from the collaborative process and the input from a diverse range of participants, which added value beyond what they could have achieved had they chosen to address the problem alone. Follow-up since the BOLT hackathons has revealed that these teams have progressed their ideas within their organisation, including pitches to executives, implementation of new programs and the instigation of asset management training across their organisation.
Examples of team projects worked on during the BOLT Hackathons:
- A data integration platform for the energy industry
- A decision-making tool for repair/replace decisions in major infrastructure
- Mill modifications to optimise ramp rates in a power generation plant
- A ‘human integration’ program to improve productivity in a steel mill
- An application of asset management principles to human resources to improve
- Improved maintenance workflow in the unique facilities setting of a zoo
- A program to introduce asset management approaches into a first-responder
- A model for improved management of intangible assets
- An integrated approach to stakeholder management for the ‘internal sell’ on asset
Opinion as to specific contribution by person/organisation
In the attached videos participants talk about the value they gained from the BOLT Hackathon experience and the contribution of Dr Monique Beedles.
BOLT Hackathon video Sydney & Melbourne 2018: https://youtu.be/-wMs3nJCOkU
BOLT Hackathon video Brisbane 2018: https://youtu.be/8FoxV0bDZEs
Participants were asked what they valued most about participating in the BOLT event.
Verbatim participant responses:
- It’s really healthy to have collaborative innovating encouraged in Asset Management
- and [Monique has] put a lot of time, care and effort in to do this so professionally
- through BOLT.
- BOLT Hackathon is fantastic for anyone, really, in asset management. Your view
counts whether you work at a strategic level, whether you’re at an operational level
or whether you’re a tactician in the organisation, you’re going to get something out
- The way [Monique] has hosted the event made it very collaborative and very
friendly, a very safe space to be engaged in activities like this.
- [Monique] makes you feel welcome, she tries to include people, if anyone has any
questions, she’s always there to answer them.
- The structure is what I really enjoyed. It had enough structure to be a coordinated
day, but enough flexibility to be able to talk about or think about whatever we
wanted for the day.
Verbatim responses continued. What is your most important learning from the BOLT Asset
- How to deal with real-world asset management problems and plan for solving
- The importance of clearly framing an issue before jumping into solution finding
- Learning new information that is able to be used straight away and will make a
- Collaboration/synergy many ideas from different people’s background
- Teamwork can be dreamwork ……you can use that. being able to be away from the
office with people you work with solving problems you may encounter every day.
- Contesting and compromising ideas in problem-solving process
- Getting familiar with asset management area.
- Collaborating to achieve a solution in a short timeframe
- Just working through the many areas that we have to face
and being able to ask questions to a professional person for help.
- It was a valuable experiencing to collaborate with many backgrounds
- The casual atmosphere and the open-minded discussion
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