As we head into our 2nd full month of COVID-19 related social restrictions and still climbing infection and death rates, more organizations and agencies have turned to crowd-sourcing solutions through public challenges and competitions. Hackster.io has always been at the forefront of innovation challenges and the current situation is no exception. But they’re not the only innovation challenge underway right now.
DevEx has a great discussion on the topic of the role of innovation in responding to the challenges of COVID-19 , by David Milestone.
“The COVID-19 response,” he writes, ” is producing inspiring innovative responses proving that, indeed, necessity is the mother of invention. What has emerged already and during previous crises provide lessons for our near-term response, but also highlight the underlying and more critical long-term need to better resource and institutionalize strategic innovation in global health. ”
But he adds that however high impact innovation is sourced – through open competitions, prizes, or other ways – it needs to be shaped with long-term sustainability in mind. Innovation alone is not enough.
“Innovation” has become a buzzword that can mean everything and nothing, and elicits a range of reactions — from excitement to skepticism. We know, though, that smartly investing in the future through innovation works best when it’s strategic, focused on impact, and resourced. – David Milestone, in DevEx
To aid in the development of solutions, some have called for an Open COVID Pledge ,seeking in the words of Diane Peters, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Creative Commons, to remove “unnecessary obstacles to dissemination of the knowledge and inventions that could save lives and limit suffering.” (Open COVID Pledge: Removing Obstacles to Sharing IP in the Fight Against COVID-190 )
The Pledge is a collaborative effort of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs, and gives broad permission “to anyone to use technology and content otherwise inaccessible in its absence, in most cases, replacing the need for a costly license or royalty agreement.”
Intel has joined the effort as a founding signer, along with Unified Patents and Fabricatorz Foundation.
Our current social situation is a complicated and often heartbreaking one, but it also offers opportunities to create meaningful solutions to healthcare problems that have become glaringly evident, and which will hopefully have applications far into the future, to help prevent anything like this from happening again – or at the very least, make us better prepared if it does. To quote a Code for America value: No One is Coming: It’s Up to Us.
To that end, we’ve curated some of the bigger, national and international COVID-19 challenges for you here, the ones that may have real legs to walk us through future global scale health problems. We’ve also archived them on our Consolidated for COVID page, as well, right under our Local and National Groups list, and we’ll continue to add to the list until there no longer needs to be a list.
So take a look, and jump in wherever you feel inspired.
- CoVent 19 Challenge – An Open Innovation Effort to Design a Rapidly Deployable Mechanical Ventilator – first round submissions due May 1
- COVID-19 Design Innovation Grant – IDA Design Awards
- Data Powered Alliance to Stop COVID-19 – xPrize
- Global COVID-19 Innovation Challenge
- The COVID-19 Knock-Down Innovation Challenge – Hire the Youth
- The COVID-19 Detect & Protect Challenge – Hackster.io
- xTech COVID-19 Ventilator Challenge – U.S. Dept. of Defense
Stay safe and healthy, and keep making it meaningful!