John Hancock Launches "Lab of Forward Thinking" Devoted to Generating Innovative Business Solutions

Hosts first two-day internal 'hackathon'

Jul 09, 2015, 13:05 ET from John Hancock Financial

BOSTON, July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock held a ribbon-cutting event for its new "Lab of Forward Thinking" (LOFT) last night at its 601 Congress Street location in Boston's Seaport neighborhood, also widely known as the city's up-and-coming "Innovation District."

David Rose, CEO of Ditto Labs and instructor at MIT Media Lab, gave the keynote remarks, discussing the "new vanguard for business" of connectivity, design and the internet of things. 

Attendees included: Katie Stebbins, Assistant Secretary of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship for Massachusetts' Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, in the administration of Governor Charlie Baker; and Representative Mark Cusack (D – Braintree), Chairman of the House Committee on Technology and Intergovernmental Affairs.   

"The future of our customer landscape is changing rapidly as a new generation of consumers emerges. Initiatives such as LOFT are critical for success as we continue to innovate and lead in the financial services industry. We are thrilled that our employees have embraced this opportunity to tap into their creativity and experience, exploring uncharted areas that may lead to ideas of great value," said Craig Bromley, President, John Hancock.

The formal opening of the innovation lab capped a two-day internal 'hackathon,' where 100 employees from diverging backgrounds from across the organization came together to build, refine and pitch new business offerings and/or products and services that answered to the posed challenge statement.

Entitled "Unleash Boston: From Paper to Prototype," the event kicked off Tuesday morning, July 7th, with participants working until late in the evening and resuming again Wednesday morning. The challenge presented to participants was: "How might we prepare to serve our next generation of customers and expand our services to those who are just beginning to think about securing their financial future?" Participants demonstrated their prototypes in three to five minute pitches before a panel of senior executives before receiving feedback on how to further explore and refine next steps for translating the ideas into business opportunities. 

"All of the teams produced excellent submissions, and four were selected to have their ideas advanced for further development," said Sebastian Blandizzi, Manulife's Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Investment Division and Group Functions, who hosted the evening. "We congratulate all our participants and look forward to their ongoing contributions to the company."

John Hancock's LOFT is a 6,500 square foot space devoted to a culture of innovation and creativity within all facets of the organization. It was launched with the intent of cultivating a high impact environment and providing a centralized resource for employees across the company to collaborate and devise new forward-thinking solutions for John Hancock's various wealth and asset management and insurance business lines. The lab will seek to leverage Boston's thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem by partnering with local start-up organizations and universities, further extending the city's progressive reach.

About John Hancock Financial and Manulife
John Hancock Financial is a division of Manulife, a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, our group of companies offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Assets under management by Manulife and its subsidiaries were C$821 billion (US$648 billion) as at March 31, 2015. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife can be found on the Internet at

The John Hancock unit, through its insurance companies, comprises one of the largest life insurers in the United States. John Hancock offers and administers a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at


SOURCE John Hancock Financial