Hanover Image Analytics Challenge Displays the Power of Interdisciplinary Teams

On Wednesday, November 20th, OPIM Innovate hosted the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge in partnership with Hanover Insurance Group. There, ten teams competed for the opportunity to implement their solutions in a real-world business setting through a spring semester externship. Cash prizes were split between four different thresholds, each having their own requirements. While the lowest threshold provided each participant with a baseline of $100, the highest threshold awarded each team member with $500 and an opportunity to work with Hanover. The objective of the challenge was to have participants make use of a dataset including details on current customer properties and prospective properties to be insured by Hanover.

The difference between this challenge and other case competitions is that it implored students to search for interdisciplinary team members. Rather than having all participants be business majors or intra-major, there were a multitude of participants with little to no business or technical knowledge. As explained by Rob Brewer, Middle Market Vice President and Chief Underwriting Officer at Hanover, the required roles self-assigned by each team member–business analyst, marketing specialist, developer, and data analyst–reflected Hanover’s real-world teams. “Our employees seldom work by themselves,” Brewer said. “They’re always working together across roles.” 

Through the Hanover Challenge, students learned the benefits of cross-boundary teaming. Competitors from OP I AM, one of the Threshold 3 teams recognized during the Awards Dinner following the challenge, made this clear during the Q&A portion of their presentation. When asked what was most challenging while working through their solution, which included the use of data science methodologies to detect and assess certain property holdings, Mariela Kridzelis (MIS & English ‘19), the team’s marketing specialist, commented on the benefits of an interdisciplinary team. “I wouldn’t necessarily go down the challenge route,” she said. “I thought working with my team members was extremely enlightening. We all learned something from each other.” 

Vaughn Nangle, the data analyst of another Tier 3 group entitled Alpha Analytics, also commented on team dynamics. “Throughout the Challenge, my team members and I collaborated so well that we thought we were working beyond our roles. By the very end of the Challenge when we finally presented our solution, that’s when we realized we were actually performing our roles the entire time. In working together, we shared skillsets and expanded each other’s knowledge–it just goes to show how beneficial teams like these are.” The solution Alpha Analytics presented to the judges was a variable heat map of various insurance risk factors. 

We’d like to extend a warm thank you to the Hanover Insurance Group and all faculty and staff that helped with the Hanover Image Analytics Challenge. We’d also like to thank the ten remaining teams of the Image Analytics Challenge for presenting their amazing solutions! 

Please scroll through the slide deck below for team photos.


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