What started as a routine meeting between Development Manager, Ajay Tripathi, and interim CTO, Richard Southwick, quickly turned into a conversation about how to enhance LendingClub’s environment to spark even more creativity and innovation.
They concluded that many of the best ideas come when people step outside of their normal routine and intellectual comfort zone. And some of the best products come up when courage and collaboration come together with a common goal of understanding and solving consumer problems.
It turns the “what if?” into a “let’s do this.”
The challenge for Ajay and Richard became finding a way to get people out of their normal routine and comfort zone. Their solution? LCInnovate, the company’s first internal technology conference.
Team members from across the organization took the idea and ran with it, organizing a day-long conference featuring 26 talks and workshops on topics ranging from machine learning to security; engineering efficiency tools to blockchain technology.
Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics opened the conference with a keynote about trends in innovation and his journey from developing low-cost drone technology to now exploring quick and nimble autonomous driving. His advice? Seek ways to innovate in spaces where others have overlooked.
Newest LendingClub Board Member Ken Denman, former President and CEO of Emotient (acquired by Apple Inc.), gave a keynote about his experience at Emotient bridging artificial intelligence (AI) and human emotion, as well as what drew him to LendingClub.
One constant Denman has seen in the last few decades: innovation doesn’t sleep. He emphasized:
“For LendingClub and the financial services space, the opportunity to serve customers in a deeply personal way, with increasingly minimal friction, greater convenience and utility and higher ROI experience is breathtaking. But this opportunity is not to be taken for granted, because if we don’t step up, others will […] I feel that LendingClub is one of most well positioned companies to participate, if not to lead this disruption.”
External speakers from Google, Uber, and Factom shared their learnings and perspective on blockchain, machine learning, and cloud solutions. Dozens of passionate LCers led a majority of workshops and tech talks, excited to share their passions and interests with their colleagues.
“The breadth of ideas being shared was amazing,” said one of the more than 500 attendees.
“It showed a lot of new directions we could take with our platform. I was able to get exposed to new technologies and deepen my understanding of them.”
Rooms were packed, workshop waitlists reached up to eighty people, and buzz about repeat sessions was already circulating. LCers couldn’t get enough of topics like “Blockchain, Beyond the Hype: Applications in Financial Services,” by Santiago Suarez, VP of Strategy & Corporate Development; or “The AI. Funnel: How Machine Learning Can Optimize our Funnels,” by Ben Einstein, Product Manager, and Scott Geller, Product Analytics Manager.
People who had previously never interacted with each other came together over shared passions in emerging technology and ended the day inspired about implementing new ideas—and by their peers.
Weeks after the conference, employees continue to share stories and collaborate in new ways, sparked by their exposure to LCInnovate. Was it a success? When we happen on groups of people already discussing their ideas for what to present and work on next year, it’s a resounding “yes.”
LendingClub was founded by people driven to think in new ways to improve consumers’ lives and our culture celebrates and supports that. We hire the best people from a wide variety of backgrounds, skills, and experiences be be able to offer bold ideas and thinking, because that’s how we arrive at the best solutions for our customers. Everyone at LendingClub has the opportunity to turn their idea into the next LCInnovate or product feature – it’s part of how we move forward.
If you’re ready to put your unique stamp on our future, learn more about our current openings.
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