Demand is high. In just two and a half weeks, 747 employees across 52 business units registered for the No-Code Challenge. They then had one work week to explore a problem and see if a no-code solution would work. In sum, 46 demos were submitted from 146 employees across 29 business units and from multiple locations. And participants loved the experience: 96% of those who completed our survey want to do it again. Over 150 employees showed up to the No-Code Challenge Demo and Award Ceremony to recognize and hear from the winning teams. One attendee mentioned that this was a great way to bring teams together across Fidelity. Moreover, interest remains strong. Even after the event, employees are following up. One team is in active conversation with a no-code tool that they experimented with during the challenge to see if they can make further use of that application. Another team had four different groups reach out to them about their prototype and are now actively rewriting it to create a full-scale tool usable by multiple groups at Fidelity. Yet another group is now planning their own No-Code Challenge.
Demos were strong. Judging was not easy. Projects ranged from creating custom alerts for crypto activity to apps designed to improve financial literacy to removing bias in AI models. The winning submission, from Team Millionaires (Nalina Sunil, Ramanjaneyulu Payyavula, Umakantha Avadhanam, Uma Maheshwar), provides a simple one-stop solution that lets employees quickly find in-house expertise. Citizen Innovators (Thomas Bouamoud-Séoss, Brian Coogan, Mariya Dimitrova, Matthieu French, Aqueel Jivan, Lamia, Mukanovic, Nicholas Predki, Pat Ryan, Kavana Venkatesh, Sharon Zhang) came in a close second with a tool, Automated News Summary Renderer (ANSR), that used three no-code tools to aggregate and summarize news with simple keyword searches. Deepak Raj Vijayaraghavan took third place for Fund Tokenizer, which would allow some investors to tokenize their mutual funds and ETFs into standard fungible stable coins like crypto tokens that could be subsequently used to buy/sell/yield farm in the DeFi space.
The tools have come a long way. For this competition, we asked employees to experiment with creating solutions that don’t involve coding. To be sure, participants encountered more than a few headaches. Some of the tools had large learning curves and some participants suggested that more than one week would have been helpful. That said, this challenge also shows that no-code tools are for real. One participant noted that “Tools for no-code building have progressed a lot since the last I looked into them. Definitely viable for smaller or less complex applications.” One of our judges said that he was “shocked to learn just how far no-code tools have come. I think this was a blind spot to me and I was very impressed watching the sessions and seeing all the powerful things we can do with little or no coding required.”
A New Way To Democratize Innovation
We’ve been trying to source good ideas for a long time. No-code tools represent a significant step forward in fueling experimentation, collaboration, and innovation. After seeing the No-Code Challenge announced, one participant told Pushkala Venkataraman, co-chair of WITSIG, that until this event she never shared her ideas because she’s not a coder and therefore didn’t feel comfortable participating in hackathons. She was thrilled that there was finally a way she could be included.
Beyond encouraging employees to get involved, this approach could be used for customers too. Many companies turn to co-creation to ensure the customer perspective is considered when product development occurs. For example, Lego has a crowdsourcing platform with suggestions from over 1 million people, with fans voting on the most popular ideas. The creator of the winning idea can give final approval to the end product, is recognized on all packaging and marketing, and even earns a percentage of product sales.2 No-code tools can take co-creation even further by allowing some customers to actually design the tool themselves and/or co-create with company designers and engineers.