Achieve Hackathon 2023: Where innovation feels like a science fair

By Nathan Broslawsky

Aug 03, 2023


At Achieve, we’re constantly looking for ways to “Get Better” in service of our core value of continuous improvement. In July, we hosted our 2023 Achieve Hackathon, giving our teammates a break from their day jobs and encouraging them to work together to build the next breakthrough innovative feature, tool, or user experience. The event was focused on looking at creative and unique ways of utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI), Large Language Models (LLMs) and Machine Learning (ML) to drive our business forward, better serve our members with new features and solutions, or even solve the sometimes manual, cumbersome processes that can slow us down.

The two-day event brought together 34 teams made up of over 140 teammates from across our organization with representation from engineering, design, data science, product, marketing, information security and communications, just to name a few. Some teams met virtually while others collaborated in person in our San Mateo and Phoenix offices. The output? Each team submitted a two-minute video detailing their innovation, how it would support our members or teammates, process improvements and simplification, and even projections on growth and cost savings. And every presentation leveraged AI in new and innovative ways, pushing us to think bigger and differently about the world of digital personal finance.


We saw amazing concepts from chat bots to drive personalization to enable data extraction from PDFs for settlement verification to sentiment analysis for customer interactions to help our support representatives better understand and address a member’s specific needs or questions.

Throughout the hackathon we got great real-time feedback from our participants on the energy and creativity of the hacks in development. But the best and most accurate comment I heard was, “This felt like a science fair.” It’s true. We spend a lot of time talking about new ideas and projects. But this technology is still so new, with so much unknown and untapped potential. The hackathon meant ideating AND learning.


We’re proud to share that our grand prize winners were Gary Suen, Rich Morales, Dayton Beck, Jim Olness, Joe Gilkerson and John McCormick. Dayton, a member of the winning team, said they were “... a strong, skill-balanced, enthusiastic team, driven by an outstanding idea, resulting in a fantastic opportunity to improve our sales and client services teams. This furthers our goal to be a relationship-based organization, we can equip these teammates with all the tools they need to provide an outstanding member experience, all driven by the power of AI."

The three top selected ideas showcased innovation that would enrich and simplify our teammates’ roles, bring AI-driven efficiency and tooling and improve the lives of our members. Stay tuned for more on how these ideas will be brought to life and of course, to find out how you can join Achieve and help grow and shape our business, visit our careers page!


Nathan Broslawsky

Vice President of Engineering and Consumer Products

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