Two Sigma Investments has a yearly contest where employees submit proposals for business ideas, with some picked for a final presentation on Spark Day, when colleagues vote. A win gives the idea a mandate to move forward.
Five years ago, Ben Wellington and some others at the hedge fund firm won with a pitch to marshal the talents of Two Sigma quants on behalf of the social sector in the same way lawyers work pro bono. Since then, 60 employees have volunteered on 15 projects, using data to give insights into incarceration rates for the Vera Institute of Justice, engaging visitors at the New York Hall of Science and job-training efforts for the Hope Program.
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