Reflections on Health Hackathon

Posted in Arts & Health, News by chrisfremantle on April 29, 2014

Hacking health in Glasgow (tempted to make a joke about smokers).  Sunday evening 6pm.  After 48 hrs at The Hub on the banks of the Clyde.  Lots of very dried out sandwiches, empty red bull cans and laptops.  Blog posts are always better with pictures.  Sorry I didn’t take one of empty pizza boxes.

But seriously, ten really interesting and pretty diverse approaches to making a difference to health in Glasgow through playing with data. Ten teams all hoping for £20k to get their project off the ground.

The presentations that really worked showed us something in prototype – it was more compelling and somehow we believed that they could deliver. And WOW was the pitch important! Paint a picture in the mind, show us something that looked plausible. Don’t get lost in the tech.

The point was to use open data to innovate. Sometimes that’s making a connection that no-one else has yet made, a bit leftfield. So my two takeaways were:

  • once you have an idea, look again at all the datasets available and see if there is a way to add value.
  • don’t forget the physical environment that you’re focused on – the smartphone isn’t the only interface with the city.
  • and it may seem really obvious but definitely ask the people involved what their challenges are. It’s very compelling when you see the challenges faced by professionals, communities and interest groups being taken into account.

There were strong arguments to support at least half of the pitches, and if you didn’t win it doesn’t mean we weren’t impressed. Some of these projects would make my life better, so I really hope they come through.

This is part of the TSB Future City Demonstrator, You can find my blog in preparation for the Health Hack blog-for-open-glasgow-health-hack-v2.

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