Much like last year’s Social Innovation Camp, I returned home on Sunday night both shattered and elated by the experience.
The event saw all six teams compete furiously for two awards… one picked by the jury, the other by the participants.
It was a very close run contest. The jury had a difficult choice…
Creative chaos (almost)
The event commenced with each of the idea owners pitching their projects to the assembled audience. Participants were then told to vote with their feet and work on whichever project interested them the most.
Over the next 48 hours the teams had to elaborate upon the project concept, build a prototype, draft a business plan and pitch their idea to the assembled masses on Sunday evening.
On Saturday evening, the projects faced a mock board meeting in order to test their mettle at an early stage. The Board meetings were also an opportunity to receive advice from a seasoned social entrepreneur, Glen Mehn.
By Sunday evening, public officials, journalists, donors, civil society representatives and tech entrepreneurs were packed into the conference hall for the presentations.
The participants were given seven minutes to pitch their idea and a further five minutes to answer questions from the audience. Some teams struggled with the time limit.
Based on lessons from last year’s event, we were determined to include public officials in developing the projects. Across the weekend, the projects benefited from the active participation of the Ministries of Health and Finance.
As the Virtual Blood Bank team’s Q&A session closed, the delegate from the Ministry of Health, Christina Mnatsakanyan, stood up to commend the project and state that the Ministry would be implementing it in partnership with the team. N.B. Christina had been working with the team for the entire weekend and may have developed a healthy bias…
Back to the winners
The 11 jury members, drawn from tech companies and development agencies, were torn between two projects: Kindergarten Monitoring and the Virtual Blood Bank…
Following heated debate Kindergarten Monitoring triumphed. The Virtual Blood Bank came a close second, and in the process picked up the participants’ award.
The Kindergarten Monitoring team was responding to the fact that many pre-school institutions are of low quality. Issues including corruption, hygiene, food safety, neglect and even violence have been reported in the past. The team articulated a clear need and prototyped a platform to give parents a place to share their experiences and to inform future choices.
The platform gave the Kindergartens an opportunity to respond to the comments… and the team committed to sharing the data with the Ministry of Education and Science in order to inform policy development…
The runner-up and participants’ choice was a platform to automate the national blood donor database. The current paper-based system is highly inefficient and often results in a patient’s relatives paying extortionate “fees” for blood in an emergency. The team proposed to automate the system, bringing the 22 blood banks across the country under one centralised database.
The Virtual Blood Bank will not have a public interface, but I’ll keep you updated on its development over the coming months.