SUPPORT | March 13, 2020

Hack the Crisis: From Ideas to Solution Design in Just 6 Hours

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Estonians don’t know how to just stay still and do nothing in the midst of the crisis - they act and they hack.

Startup Nations member Mikk Vainik, Head of the Accelerate Estonia initiative from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, together with the support from the Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology and other actors in the Estonian ecosystem and community, put together an online hackathon in record time to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic crisis and emerge from the crisis stronger than ever.

"This is the time when we can truly become an e-nation. E-Estonia.  We are encouraging creativity in this time of crisis, and calling for tangible solutions for the things that need to be changed, even in the regulatory realm," expressed Mikk Vainik. Mikk has ample experience in this type of collaborative solution design. He co-created the Startup Nations Policy Hack model for the Startup Nations Summit (SNS) in Tallinn in 2017, which has since been replicated in a dozen of countries as a sandbox-type approach to collaborative and validated policy design.

The initiative drew wide interest quickly. Within just 6 hours the organizers managed to get 96 ideas, 860+ people participating in the online event and currently have 28+ teams working! The event continues until March 15th.  The 5 strongest ideas will receive a €5000 support to develop their idea during the emergency situation.

Visit the official website to read more about the initiative, about the teams that took the challenge to design, test and launch moonshot ideas that will either help tackle the crisis or position Estonia well for the aftermath.  


Other nations calling on innovators too.

Soon after Estonia, neighboring Latvia, as well as Poland also took on the challenge and started hacking solutions for tackling the COVID-19 crisis.

"Together with the Polish Prime Minister and GovTech we decided to initiate a 'HackCrisis: Tech 4 Good Movement' to help people survive the coronavirus outbreak around the world and make our environment again a safe place for us. Our role here is to create space, guide, and provide tools for those who want to hack the crisis with integrity in their minds and hearts," announced Dmitrij Żatuchin, Co-founder of SoDA Poland. 

Mateusz Morawiecki, Prime Minister of Poland expressed support saying: "Global challenges are when we need to show unity for the common good across borders and generations. I would like to invite all developers, experts and technology-lovers to aid our common fight against the virus in cyberspace." 

We encourage you to review the in-depth opinion piece on Forbes about this collaborative public-private phenomenon ("6 Lessons From Estonia’s Coronavirus Crisis Response"). 

Sarolta's work focuses on building relationships between public policy experts around the world via Startup Nations network and managing GBAN,… About the author