Adam Smith Business School COP26 Hackathon

A crucial part of any business when ‘going green’ is ensuring that their internal culture and practices compliments their external brand and business objectives. To mark COP26 in Glasgow, Adam Smith Business School students took up the challenge to develop a pitch for a culture change initiative in just 5 hours.

Adam Smith Business School worked with two of their professional accrediting bodies, the CMI and CIPD, and Multiplex, a high-end construction company currently building the new Adam Smith Business School. Since establishing in the UK in 1999, Multiplex has a workforce of over 1000 employees and has completed nearly 63 high-profile projects with a revenue of US$12bn. Having recently launched their ‘One Decade to Act’ strategy, they are proactive in ensuring that their employees and organisational culture support the transition to Net Zero.

The students were set a real-life challenge by Multiplex. In just 5 hours, they were asked to design a pitch for a ‘Green’ culture and behavioural change programme that fits with Multiplex’s ‘Educate, Engage, Empower’ approach and speaks to the goals of the ‘One Decade to Act’ strategy. During their 5 hours, students were supported through information on how to pitch, videos on sustainable corporate culture initiatives and Live Q&A’s with panels members from Multiplex, CMI and CIPD.

The final judging panel, made up of representatives from Multiplex, the CIPD and CMI were incredibly impressed at the calibre of the entries and how each of the teams had attempted to address issues in a unique way in just a short amount of time.


The winners of the Hackathon were:

  • Charlie Greener
  • Zhu Yu
  • Hari Lakhani
  • Kaiser Kazakbayev

The winning team’s entry caught the judge’s attention through its clear messaging and detailed approach. One of the judges, Helen Watts, Head of CMI HE Partnerships, said that ‘The video felt personable but still managed to incorporate a lot of information into a short time’. Amy Dawson, Senior Social Value and Community Manager at Multiplex was impressed at their ability to pay attention to the specific culture and current practices within Multiple, while giving due consideration to the wide range of stakeholders, that also need to be brought on the journey: ‘Everything mentioned in our live Q&A sessions during the Hackathon was taken on board and resulted in a highly relevant pitch. Similarly, Aimee Barratt, Talent Acquisition Partner at Multiplex, stated that the ‘group had clearly recognised that to consider green initiatives, there had to be consideration about the collaborative relationship between employees, suppliers and client team.

Runners up

The runners up were:

  • Alexandre Codarcea
  • Mengyi Chen
  • Oriol Corvo Campodarve

Susan Hayman, who is Networks and Community Manager for CIPD Scotland and Northern Ireland, loved how the team had thought carefully about intrinsic rewards and considered how to ensure the initiative was sustainable over the long term through proactive employee engagement. Callum Scott, Senior Sustainability Manager at Multiplex also commended the team’s recognition that leveraging existing good practice and knowledge in a firm and communicating this effectively across the organization was a great approach to take.

In addition, the judges gave a special recommendation to an additional team, Team 1. The judges, while they found the strategy of using for ‘top down’ approaches did not perhaps give employees themselves autonomy for various ‘green’ actions, thought it was incredibly well structured with a compelling video pitch.

Further information: 

First published: 9 November 2021

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