Last week, four months on from #WirVsVirus – the world’s biggest online hackathon – the nine teams selected for its Solution Builder follow-up programme delivered their Demo Day pitches.
The value of optimism
Taking part in the hackathon was, in the words of RemedyMatch’s Melanie Uhlen, “overwhelming [and] chaotic – but I enjoyed that! … I liked the speed at which people were doing things, not just discussing.”
Melanie, whose day job is in international development, joined Impact Hub Berlin in early 2020, so knew the value of a positive, proactive attitude well before the hackathon kicked off. “I knew this was my kind of crowd,” she says.
RemedyMatch helps emergency supplies like face masks reach organisations and authorities in most need of them. “We’d seen doctors in the media saying ‘this is my last pair of gloves before we run out’,” Melanie recalls. Her team’s solution was a direct response to this call for help.
The need for diverse experience
lokalkauf’s Max Seidel agrees that positivity and a diverse, committed team are the key ingredients in their success. “It’s a marathon,” Max told us; “it’s really about motivation.”
lokalkauf is a platform best described as “a digital shop window,” where local shops affected by the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany can list their updated opening hours and delivery options so that customers know how best to support them.
Max, whose varied experience includes marketing and strategy, joined the team to bring a different perspective to the project. “I thought they might just need an ‘innovation guy’,” he says.
Melanie also saw #WirVsVirus as unique in its ability to bring a diverse range of professionals together, as “a lot of these hackathons tend to die if there are only ‘techies’ there.”
How cross-sector collaboration helps move the dial
Part of the Solution Builder selection criteria was the teams’ long-term potential for wider impact. quarano, whose team member Oliver Drotbohm is part of the Impact Hub Dresden community, have shown particular promise in that area.
“What the hackathon did was shake the system from the ground up,” says Oliver’s teammate, Ferdinand Biere. The hackathon and the ideas it spawned won plaudits from the highest offices in the country and saw renewed calls for greater digitalisation. “Everyone saw what is possible,” Ferdinand says.
quarano, an open source management platform for healthcare authorities, created a prototype in just two days, and two days later had the health authorities in Mannheim on the phone asking to trial it.
The product allows healthcare workers to triage patients, thereby increasing their efficiency by 80%, dealing effectively with caseloads that for some have increased tenfold. It’s now being used across the entire city, in the third hardest-hit state in Germany.
Although the context in which the #WirVsVirus solutions were initiated has changed – and continues to change – the issues they tackle: streamlining healthcare bureaucracy, securing essential supply chains and supporting small businesses, are very much permanent.
All the teams are continuing their work and are looking for more partners to help them scale their activities. Get in touch via [email protected] if you think that your company or department could be the partner they’re looking for.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our #WirVsVirus blog series. If you haven’t already, you can still read previous instalments on the hackathon, the community and the mentors. Be the first to read our future blog posts by signing up to our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter.