My first Hackathon

Chia-ying Tsai
3 min readOct 23, 2018

After finishing my first service design project which is relevant to public healthcare system,it leaded me the possibility to discover more about this topic. It was time to try the first hackathon! The African Healthcare Hackathon popped up and suited the gap in my schedule perfectly. After the icebreaking, the organiser revealed nine challenge with different client or organization. The challenge I choose belonged one start-up company, mPharma, which tackled the system about medicine delivery in African country (focused on Nigeria, Zimbabwe)

・The problem : MedEX provides the channel for affordable accessible & authentic medicines across Africa. The Legitimate medicines in Africa tend to be charged at a premium for patients in African. People is suffering that they are not able to get the authentic medicine by their own ability. During the medicine supply chain, it was common that the real medicine were switched to the fake one. The patients will not be aware if the pills are real or not, and it might have possibility to be They are under a high risk of purchasing and consuming potentially lethal medicine, a chilling reality for millions of innocent African people whose only crime was falling ill.

The solution The blockchain technology is the core idea for our solution, different stakeholder control the partial code. During each step, they provide their code and they can assure the medicine is the genuine patch. The idea combines the concept of the logistic and food delivery. The staff who get the medicine will deliver these items to the patient, and then they can verify the medicine by SMS message system.

The obstacle I faced — Lack of relevant knowledge underrating the brief was one of my mistake this time. I did not do any research before this activity and also did not have any common sense of health card in Africa. I had some knowledge from previous experience of NHS, but these two system have different stories and problems. I faced the barrier from the specific medical language and profession. I could not provide enough accurate feedback when the team had the discussion of entire problems. This situation gave me the massive frustration. I realized this barrier can be fixed during the long-term project. In this situation, my solution is to double-check with my team, if I have any technical / professional question. I researched quickly about new knowledge as well. Then, I trusted my team members with their profession for collecting data and making decision. In the same time, I just concentrate on the graphic work at first. — Deadline pressure the entire solution and idea was generated by shorten time. this gave me an enormous pressure about how to make the design way enough perfect in less 2 days. It required the self-control both mentally and physically. Working in long time with the lack of rest was truly a challenge for me. If I attend second Hackathon, I will adjust my physical situation and make sure to schedule the time for being overworked.

・The new thing I learnt — Out of my comfort zone It was new experience to meet more people with other background. It give a chance to exchange the comment. Also, it is important to understand the different thinking way from others and empathize it. The background effects the way to display ideas and thinking about solutions. Even it differentiates the content of slide. (Design: HMW, insights/ Business: KPI, data) Additionally, it widens my horizon from knowing more new African friends for me, all of them are so nice! — How to pitch The team needs to present entire process and solution in few minutes. It is difficult to let he juries only get your ideas in short time. Except the excellent solution, the way you present (both of slide or talk about) are main key points. I learn the pace and method from other team and mine. The clear message is one part, but I realize the storytelling is the most important part. The “using the story “way shows the brief, current problem and solution is higher level of presentation. I did not have a chance to pitch this time, but I definitely will involve this part for my further attempt. — Learning how to network Initially, I think it is not necessary to link with people from different area, but why not I should not do this? I met and talked with them and it was a chance to relate. It might be potential powerful connection in the future. Networking is a big move for me to push myself out of my original zone.

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Chia-ying Tsai

A Taiwanese multidisciplinary designer in the UK, working on human-centred design and social innovation. 旅英設計師,學做UX也學做服務設計。