All Hands on Deck For the Hackathon
The SingHealth Hackathon 2019, an event initiated and led by SingHealth Residency's Residents' Committee, saw the highest number of 80 participants – including medical students and interprofessional healthcare staff, coming together to brainstorm and co-create healthcare solutions. Organised in February this year, the two-day event, saw a total of 15 new solutions being generated in a bid to help patients and the community to Keep Well, Get Well and Age Well.
From the winning pitch to obtain funding for the event, to reviewing the first draft of marketing materials, and producing a successful comedic publicity video and finally to watching the sign ups stream in, was the culmination of a lot of hard work. INSIGHT takes you behind-the-scenes as we speak to the Co-Chairs of the SingHealth Hackathon 2019, Dr Chinmaya Shrikant Joshi, Emergency Medicine Resident and Dr Jaydeesh Khanna K B, Internal Medicine Resident.
1. Congratulations on organising a successful Hackathon event! What is the biggest challenge you faced in planning the event?
Dr Chinmaya: Interestingly, I thought that my biggest challenge when planning the Hackathon would be juggling my commitments, such as clinical work, exams and leadership responsibilities.
However, my biggest challenge was having to reject some ideas in the interest of scope and resources. On one hand, because the Hackathon is a creative endeavour, we wanted to include every idea and to have a rich diversity of ideas as we brainstormed with the event's theme. On the other hand, resources were limited and we had to make decisions to focus on certain problems, at the exclusion of others.
Dr Jaydeesh: To me, my biggest challenge was to publicise this event to Residents and beyond, such as medical students, and other clinical and non-clinical staff.
The success of a Hackathon depends on the publicity and bringing participants from different backgrounds together to generate ideas. Publicity was required across multiple channels, and we even created a comedic video to improve engagement of potential participants. Despite the challenges, we managed to get a higher number of participants to join the event this year!
2. List 3 key takeaways from your Hackathon experience.
i. Being a leader is a lot like being a "parent" to your team. Just like nurturing a child, leading a team entails heavy responsibilities. You want to hand hold them yet it is impossible to always be with your "child" or team because you have finite time and energy and there are factors that you have limited control over (e.g. personal agency, external circumstances). Ultimately, there is a need to know when to let go and empower others to own their specific areas.
3. What would you tell our readers who are interested in attending the next SingHealth Hackathon?
Dr Chinmaya: Innovation is an integral component of the Hackathon. This involves questioning the status quo, which runs contrary to the way healthcare revolves around following instructions and guidelines, so that we do the right thing for our patients.
Thus if you are keen to join the Hackathon, ask yourself how can you rally your organisation to be more conducive for innovation.
Dr Jaydeesh: More than winning the prize, participating in this event itself gives plenty of experience in materialising your ideas. If you have an innovative idea that aims to make a difference in patients' lives, I encourage you to take the first time in realising this idea by joining the next Hackathon.
Hear From Student Participants
In retrospect, I would liken the Hackathon to a Transformer! It starts out as something seemingly ordinary, but when all its parts come together, it becomes something extraordinary."
Shawn Ng, Medical Student, Duke-NUS Medical School
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