Helping Securian design their hackathon event experience

Workshop with Securian team
Our developers sat this one out – we wrote no code. Instead, we wrote a strategic playbook for Securian to launch an event experience designed to help employees innovate. We also directed a design-thinking workshop to prep hackathon participants for the event.

Complex simplification

Consumer expectations now rise to the level of their easiest online transaction. To meet this expectation, Securian strives for digital simplicity that brings real value to their customers and enhances their experience. Achieving simplicity for a Fortune 500 company with services spanning insurance and financial sectors is no easy task. Hackathons are an integral part of Securian becoming the tech company their customers need.

Workshop post it notes

Been there, hacked that

Many at Foundry have hackathon experience as competitors and organizers. We’ve seen what works and what could’ve worked better. Securian picked our brains to design a meaningful event experience for them. We hosted key Securian thought leaders for a two-day workshop to tap their industry knowledge and define objectives, challenges, and goals. 

Outcome oriented

We recommended that hackathon teams should be producing lo-fi prototypes representing ideas worth pursuing – something the company could get behind, something that could digitally delight new customers and help Securian protect more families. 

From workshop to comprehensive playbook

Our deliverable was a playbook defining objectives for a repeatable initiative while also establishing the first hackathon’s focus – specifically, what customer problem to solve. We discussed how to engage employees to get involved, and what hackathons meant for the company.

What to expect when expecting a hackathon

We helped shape the event structure and timeline, including a pre-event mixer – socialized orientation. We advised tapping energy from internal champions, and helped leaders be intentional about communicating goals of repeatable success and modeling new ways to work. We met their admirable bias for speed in starting fast, seeing what works, and iterating with lessons learned. 

The 428 Building
Securian Hackathon Photo

Team building

By intentionally creating teams with ideal skill-set mixes, including floating subject matter experts, we encouraged hackathon participants to stretch themselves in developing new muscles. We also advised introducing skill sets from other parts of the business in future hackathons to pressure test against a wider range of perspectives.

Word work

Our playbook included a communication plan with key messages for all audiences. We helped Securian articulate why their hackathon matters for customer impact, company culture, and innovation. Our deliverable was writing words instead of code. 

Making muscles

Building on the success of this partnership, Securian’s future hackathons will instill a collaborative mentality toward creating solutions that protect more people, backed by new fundamentals set forth in this initial engagement.


  • Digital Product Strategy
    Innovation Playbook


  • Service Design
  • Visual Design
  • Team Building Experience

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