GLOBAL • HEALTHCARE & TECHNOLOGY
Yanira Caraza Lozano
MAY 27, 2020
Hackathons have gained relevance and popularity in just a few years. It could be said that their popularity has increased much more in the last months due to the initiatives promoted by governments and corporations to fight Covid-19.
But before that, there was evidence of how successful these events are and their ability to engage a large audience. Some of the world's largest healthcare hackathons, Europe's biggest healthcare hackathon, NYC Grand Hack: MIT Hacking Medicine and Reimagining Healthcare in Saudi Arabia, were developed thanks to the collaboration between governments, universities and corporations.
Hackathons prove to be an efficient tool for solving many issues because they gather participants from different backgrounds and with different expertise to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams and create innovative solutions under expert supervision in the course of 2 or 3 days. Giving people limited time to come up with ideas avoids over-thinking, and some researches event point out that, in some cases, time pressure can motivate people to work harder and do more, as well as be more creative.
From the mid-to-late 2000s, hackathons spread and increasingly began to be viewed by corporates and government as a way to rapidly develop technological solutions. Hackathon has proven to be an effective methodology and it also showcases agile innovation at its best, which are some of the reasons for its popularity.
Governments and companies have carried out multiple initiatives to find solutions to current health problems, such as lack of mechanical respirators, financial sustainability to the health system and needs of vulnerable populations. Within these initiatives, many institutions have opted for hackathons to speed up the creation of solutions.
Now that some hackathons have been executed, it’s interesting to know how to organize an online Healthcare Hackathon and what are some of the key activities you need to consider when you decide to run it.
As specified in a LEAD's article, Open Innovation is the opening of innovation processes to allow ideas, technology or feedback from external partners (consumers, universities, suppliers, research institutes, or start-ups) to flow into the company.
Open Innovation promotes the use and flow of internal and external ideas to optimize the design of solutions and the exchange of information. It takes place within an open ecosystem, where ideas, data and knowledge can be combined to meet challenges.
According to the type of challenge, there are different open innovation methodologies that you can use. Hackathons are an open innovation methodology in which many other methodologies can be included to articulate creative processes, according to the IDB.
Here are some other Open Innovation’s methodologies:
If you are considering organizing a hackathon, here are some ideas of what you need to consider:
#SeekNotHide Online Hackathon
What kind of initiatives were born during the online hackathons?
Solar-powered light-disinfection. The solution integrates light-disinfection into grid-independent solar generators to provide a sustainable, reliable and inclusive hygiene solution for public spaces and people in need. It was born at the Global Hack.
AnalysisMode game 2.0. This 10-minute puzzle game can be played by anyone to help researchers find a vaccine faster using AI. It was developed by the Analysis Mode team at Hack the Virus Netherlands.
Netsahem aims to provide innovative payment solutions to the NGOs in Egypt to turn their offline operations to eliminate the risk of infection for both workers and donors during the outbreak. Netsahem won the #SeekNotHide virtual hackathon.
Colivery is a platform that connects helpers who can aid their fellow citizens with things like buying food, going to the drugstore and picking up medication. Colivery came out of the #WirVsVirus hackathon.
TodosMásCerca is a platform that seeks to reactivate the economy through the connection between users and nearby local businesses. They are part of the solutions of #CadaDiaCuenta Hackathon.
Some of these solutions could give you some hackathon ideas for upcoming events.
The main challenge is to ensure that the solutions developed at the events can have the greatest possible impact during the current crisis. In many cases, the winners are awarded cash or participation in follow-up programs.
The main prizes in the #SeekNotHide hackathon are access to acceleration and guidance to the Seedstars World Cairo 2020 and enrollment in WUZZUF Startups Program. In the #AfricaVsVirus Challenge, the top 3 ideas will be eligible for over USD 50,000 in-kind prizes and the top 20 ideas will participate in the Seedstars Investment Readiness Program, a program that will further support the development of the ideas. Also, the #WirVsVirus team and the organizers of #CadaDiaCuenta are working to create alliances with the governments and partners to support the development and implementation of the solutions.
We were thrilled to be a partner of the #AfricaVsVirus last weekend. It was a massive success and we were overwhelmed by all the effort and collective intelligence for the common good on the African Continent. - Startup Mario, Visual Partner of #AfricaVsVirus.
Part of the organizers of the hackathon #CadaDiaCuenta, Facebook image.
If you decide to work with open innovation, you should choose the methodology that allows you to achieve your particular goals. Each methodology is different in terms of execution time and resources. Your team must know the reasons why a specific methodology is chosen and be willing to get involved.
As mentioned by Science|Business, hackathons have become prime locations for networking, entrepreneurship and, in many cases, for raising funds during the crisis. These events are generating value for both the organizers and institutions involved, as well as for the participants.
We hope that after reviewing this article you have some hackathon ideas and that we can help you transform challenges into results.
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