Hacking for Covid-19 success

Published on the 23/04/2020 | Written by Heather Wright


Hack the crisis nz

Winning #HacktheCrisis solutions incubate…

Nearly 1,000 Kiwis have hacked away to develop new solutions, from a lightweight, simple to use click and collect online shop to ‘the Tinder of (food service) Tenders, a peer-to-peer delivery service and a storytelling and art site to connect people, to help New Zealand recover and thrive post Covid-19.

More than 950 participants joined #HacktheCrisisNZ last weekend, with 47 final pitches delivered at the end of the 48 hour challenge. Louise Evans, Coin South chief activator and one of the event organisers, says “When we first started organising Hack the Crisis, we had no idea how big it would become.”

Official idea submissions numbered 210 after a four days of public idea collection ahead of the hackathon and more than 18,000 hours were spent building the solutions.

The event – New Zealand’s largest collaborative StartUp event – saw art and storytelling offering Draw This! crowned the overall winner by a judging panel which included Sir Stephen Tindall, Soul Machines’ Greg Cross, Eat My Lunch’s Lisa King, Key to Life ambassador, comedian Mike King and Vic Crone of Callaghan Innovation.

“There’s no better business school.”

Draw This! aims to connect older people who may be affected by isolation and loneliness with young budding artists looking for fun, creative activities. The older person records a description of an object – a lemon tree in the back yard with birds visiting for example – which is posted on the site. Children then attempt to draw what they hear and post the result.

Holly Grover, Draw This! project leader and co-founder, said the team gave themselves limitations early in the weekend with a narrow problem to solve: Engaging with elderly people using only a landline.

“We focused on making meaningful connections in all that we were doing. It warmed our hearts to gather descriptions, and then get the first drawings in response.”

Draw This! took home $5,000, with three runners up – PowerMove, which aims to address energy poverty; peer-to-peer delivery service PeerPostie; and mental health and wellness focused Wanderable-Riposte – taking home $3,000 each.

PeerPostie, delivered via an app, aims to help small businesses avoid the need to pay heavy commissions to delivery services or apps (we’re looking at you UberEats…) or to set up their own delivery service, instead using a network of local people to deliver – and receive a small payment for doing so.

It’s won the support of David Perk, CEO of Wellington NZ, who says businesses need time to adjust and a service like PeerPostie would allow them more time to focus on their own business, rather than setting up their own delivery service.

“I also love the way it’s keeping communities connecting and giving everyone an opportunity to support each other,” Perk says.

Maple, which gamifies walking turning steps into points which can be traded for discounts at local stores won the best student team, garnering a $2,000 prize.

Tinder for tenders, Foodjockey, one-stop pantry virtual supermarket Shopalong and decision mapping tool Roadmaps 4 Recovery rounded out the finalists.

More than 50 mentors and coaches helped the teams, with backing from innovation hubs around New Zealand.

Luke Ball, Lightning Lab general manager, says the event was ‘not just a flash in the pan event’, with incubators across the country planning on supporting the businesses beyond the weekend.

“There’s no better business school than the one offered by #hackthecrisisNZ,” Nuri Gocay, mentor to the teams, says.

 

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