On March 13, Estonia built on their well-deserved title as the “digital nation” when they launched the online hackathon, Hack The Crisis Estonia.
Just one month later, Hack The Crisis Estonia kick-started a global hacking movement, Global Hack The Crisis.
Over 12,000 participants across almost 100 countries came together to create solutions to help protect society from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 48-hour event was covered by Forbes, CNN, The New Yorker, and saw 850 mentors supporting the participating teams. You can read about the event and its winners here.
The team at Eventornado are proud to have then partnered with founders of Hack The Crisis Estonia, providing them with the right infrastructure to host the hackathon that sparked a global movement.
Let’s look at the winners and where they are in their journeys, seven months since the 48-hour event.
Estonian startup Zelos made the winners list of Hack The Crisis Estonia with an app which was initially developed to rethink volunteer team coordination.
Almost 7 months since the hackathon, the team found themselves amidst possibilities they never expected and a new direction for their prototype.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented the team with a rare opportunity to rethink an app designed to streamline task delegation for event and festival managers, into a prototype to make a difference in the community.
The app, Zelos Community Helpline, now connects volunteers with vulnerable people in their community in need of a helping hand. After achieving a winning entry in March’s Hack The Crisis, the Estonian startup placed in the Top 10 Empowerment and Solidarity track in April’s The Global Hack, now even seeing opportunities to collaborate with various nation’s governments.
1% of those diagnosed with coronavirus develop Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and need a breathing machine (ventilator) to survive.
In a crisis as global as the coronavirus pandemic, many hospitals found that there simply weren’t enough ventilators to go round and the results were extremely distressing.
In the worst-case scenario, in Italy (where the virus spread so drastically, making it the first place outside Wuhan to issue a national lockdown), doctors were having to choose who lives and who dies, based entirely on the ventilators available.
Ventit Breathing Apparatus hacked a solution to make sure doctors never have to make such a distressing decision again. “The apparatus adjusts existing resuscitation masks to provide a quick alternative to the machines”, says Garage48, one of the founders of Hack The Crisis Estonia.
Perhaps the most impressing part of what the Estonian startup achieved is that “the system is designed in such a way that any engineer can take the blueprints and provide these machines to the hospitals near them” - Laur Läänemets
Throughout the pandemic, over-flowing hospital rooms and limited resources called for medical volunteers to donate their time.
The problem was that there was no efficient way to do this, based on the volunteer\'s skills, competence and location—a time-consuming and nonsecure database seemed like the only feasible way to do that.
Vanemuine stepped in and built Estonia’s first medical volunteer management platform where volunteers can sign up, outline their skills, availability and location.
Crisis leaders are then able to locate medical volunteers from within the platform and send out a call to action, which the volunteers can accept or reject. Those managing the crisis can see a clear overview of the volunteers that have joined the front line and the details of their service using a simple method that doesn’t overwhelm.
If there’s one area of society the coronavirus turned upside down, it’s the workforce.
A large number of companies and employees were plunged into completely unfamiliar territory, with not much room to get out.
“Share ForceOne is a B2B platform for companies in need of a workforce and companies whose workforce don’t have any job opportunities left”, says Lauri Sokk, Head Organiser of the project.
The platform has been making it easy for companies to share their workforce.
A company representative fills out one of two applications on the website, whether they have extra employees, or if they’re in need of them.
Based on that, Share ForceOne matches the companies with each other and even provides the necessary contract templates and other bits and pieces they might need in order to get started.
Share ForceOne is an intuitive and smart solution to the workforce crisis, and it’s continuing to be useful since it placed as a winner in March’s hackathon.
Even after the state of emergency passes and the workplace begins to recover, this sort of needs-based solution could last for years, as companies slowly return to their pre-pandemic profit margins and employee numbers.
One of the most strenuous aspects of the virus has been on the healthcare systems—and before Estonia’s Hack The Crisis, there was no secure way for the public and government to monitor the rapidly moving situation.
Velmio created Corona-Tracker, a data-driven app to help people monitor the COVID-19 outbreak, whether in perfect health, infected with the virus, or recovered.
Corona-tracker has been helping users to analyse their symptoms to estimate a COVID-19 risk level, and it also shows the risk level or nearby locations.
Users simply log their symptoms, location and risk factors on the secure app, and the data will be made available to researchers to help them in their fight against the virus.
The app even runs passively in the background, detecting potential health issues and collecting insights to suggest lifestyle changes for the user.
Corona-tracker has been featured in CNN and Forbes and is growing rapidly as an advocate for preventative medicine.
If there’s one thing Hack The Crisis Estonia has taught us, it’s that there’s immense power in being part of a community.
When a crisis hits, people often look to the government for help and guidance. And while Hack The Crisis was backed by the UN and the European Commission, the hackathon was a noteworthy display of what innovation really means.
There’s much to learn from a country that lives and breathes the startup mindset, and we can’t wait to witness and cheer on the success of the hackathon’s winners from now and for years to come.
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