12,000+ participants from 98 countries came together over a 48hr period to develop practical solutions to tackle COVID-19 head-on.
“Thirty days ago, when we launched our local #HACKTHECRISIS event in Estonia we honestly didn’t know we were going global,” said event co-founder Kai Isand. “But what we’ve achieved in the past month is simply beyond expectation, it feels almost surreal.”
In this great journey, Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol had the honour to be part of the organization team since the beginning of the first hackathon. Accelerate Estonia, a program initiated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications together with Science Park Tehnopol, was one of the initiators of The Global Hack.
“Our previous hackathon, that took place 13th to 15th March produced 8 prototypes that are already in the market, like a chatbot named SUVE, now being used by our government to answer people’s questions about COVID, coronavirus tracking app now in BETA testing before global rollout, workforce sharing platform Share Force One, medical volunteer management database VAAB, and Zelos’ solution that connects people at risk with volunteers via a call centre. These are just a few examples from Estonia, but we have many workable solutions around the world. After Estonian’s hack, we understood, that our success story has inspired other countries as well, so we grow global movement, bringing together the brightest minds over the world. India, Australia, Canada, United States, Brazil, Madagascar, Oman, Nigeria, Germany, Russia– it’s just short list of countries, that have organized and participated in the global movement,” said Isand, who is also a program manager in Accelerate Estonia.
The Global Hack event partnered with tech enthusiasts, business leaders, project managers, marketing experts, designers, and innovators from around the world to exchange ideas and practices to develop creative and practical prototypes. But it’s also about far more than tech.
Event co-founder Calum Cameron is on a mission to activate a critical mass of humanity. “This crisis has sparked a genuine global movement that nobody owns and everyone can participate in,” he said. ”People shut-in across the world are collaborating with tools from the startup world at massive scale. Tools like rapid experimentation by prototyping ideas. They are finding they can solve the wicked real-world problems normally left to governments. They are discovering they are connected, and their ideas have no borders.”
The founders believe the event couldn’t have succeeded without the support of the UN and the European Commission, an army of world-class thought leaders, the support of worldwide media, and the dedication of a team of ‘locked down’ volunteers worldwide who donated hundreds of hours of their time to bring the event to life.
“Four weeks ago, this was all just an idea. We asked ourselves would it be possible to bring together change-makers from around the world from the public and private sectors to co-create solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. Today, I’m astounded by the result,” said Isand.
The Global Hackathon is a volunteer-led initiative that grew out from our personal mission to fight the crisis and invites people globally to be part of the solution. The movement gathered the brightest minds over the world, among them Brad Feld, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Billi Tai, Christopher M Schroeder, Charles Nader, Carmen Kass, Garry Kasparov, Enrico Giovannini, John Robb, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Mitch Sinclair, Samantha Cristoforetti, Sophia Bush, Steve Jurveston and many others.
Kadri Tammai, the Head of Tehnopol Startup Incubator and one of the lead mentors at The Global Hack said that although she has mentored many startups in the past, this experience was still a unique. “I have organized hackathons and participated ones, but it was my first online hack ever. This was a true global experience – mentors and teams from different time zones and backgrounds and a lot of innovative ideas how to come out of this crises,” said Tammai.
The overall winner of The Global Hack is SunCrafter – Solar Powered Light-Disinfection.
“I’m super super happy, thank you, means a lot to our team and we really think our solution is kind of a missing puzzle to having exclusive hygiene to everyone,” said Florian Heep, team leader for SunCrafter, the overall winner of The Global Hack. Interviewed from his home in Berlin, Florian already opened up on what they are planning next: “I’m totally overwhelmed at the moment, but we are getting serious. A good thing is that we already went into many conversations with our partners and also generated a lot of interests with possible collaboration partners, we wanna try it out in Ghana and work with refugee camps, also bring the technology into public spaces.”
The idea behind SunCrafter is to achieve complete protection for every human in this crisis, a hygiene solution has to be inclusive for everyone and accessible wherever needed. Current disinfection methods are location-dependent, unsustainable, require maintenance or technical know-how. Therefore, they are not suitable for many use-cases. The idea of a light-disinfection application was developed from scratch during this hackathon. Far-UVC-Light is proven to be a safe and efficient disinfection method, which can be used barrier-free solely by bathing your hands.
Another important factor: This solution doesn’t need maintenance, produces no waste and is fully sustainable since it’s powered by renewables from circular resources. The light-disinfection application was successfully developed and is now running with two of our systems. The disinfection station will provide a holistic solution for a hygiene method as a global standard. By providing easy, affordable and barrier-free access to hand disinfection, we can help reduce the spread of viruses like corona, both within Europe and abroad. Check out their video pitch.
Second place went to Act On Crisis – secure emotional support that fits your cultural background
According to the Lithuanian government before this crisis approx 12% of the population was in need of psychological support. There’re currently 3bln people in lockdown which means that at least 360mln are experiencing strong emotional imbalance. Due to crisis when the number of unemployment is rising, increased anxiety is inevitable. Act on Crisis hopes to cover at least 1000 hr/week by 1on1 video calls or community rooms guarded by professionals we could help at least 4500 people per week. Bring those in need together fostering dialogue instead of suffering in loneliness. Check out their video pitch.
Third runner up for the best idea at The Global Hack is Material Mapper.
Their main idea is to keep construction waste out of the landfills and inside the buildings. 40 % of global waste is from construction, new EU regulations/quota for 2020 say 70% of materials in new buildings must be reused. Real-estate developers and construction companies have no idea where to get access to the reusables, municipalities hold this information without knowing it in many different databases and data-structures.
The construction industry is required to follow new regulations – the municipalities need to provide tools for their residents to comply with regulations and prevent perfectly reusable materials from ending up in their landfills, but a viable solution is lacking. Check out their video pitch.