“We vs. Virus” Hackathon Unites 700 Employees from Eight Leading Organizations to Help Canadians Conquer COVID-19

TORONTO — SAP Canada is today pleased to announce the winners of the Innovating for Canada: We vs. Virus hackathon, a collaborative project that virtually brought together more than 700 highly-skilled talent from eight leading organizations in Canada: Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, EY Canada, IBM, Microsoft, PwC Canada and SAP to deliver new ideas and innovations to help Canadians win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist hopes it changes; the leader adjusts the sails’ – when I heard this quote, I asked myself, if we don’t take action now, then who will?,” said Sam Masri, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Canada. “Sure enough, when we reached out to the CEOs of seven of the best organizations in Canada, they all instantly wanted to be a part of it.”

The hackathon began in the afternoon on Thursday, April 2 and ended at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, April 5 with 105 teams of volunteers. Many of the teams were cross-organizational, from the eight participating organizations, and devoted thousands of hours across four days towards developing solutions for the following challenges associated with COVID-19:

  • Helping Canadians manage the physical and emotional effects of isolation
  • Encouraging citizens to follow pandemic safety measures
  • Supporting families and children to work and study more effectively from home
  • Finding ways to support those industries most severely impacted by the pandemic
  • Finding or creating temporary sources of work and income for affected Canadians
  • Better supporting our essential service providers and health care professionals on the front lines
  • Assisting the most vulnerable communities at high risk or impacted by the pandemic

Leaders at the eight participating organizations reviewed the short-listed teams earlier this week, selecting the following five projects as the winners of the Innovating for Canada: We vs. Virus hackathon.

“I’m immensely proud of the hundreds of highly skilled, motivated teams who raised their hands to participate in this effort. We are all in this together. When I see the talented Canadians from these great organizations combining forces to come up with innovative contributions to the fight against COVID-19, I know that, together, we will get through this. On behalf of the Government of Canada, and all Canadians, thank you to the organizers and participants of this initiative,” says The Hon. Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

Participating organizations are working on next steps and will meet with the government to explore how some of these solutions can be deployed in Canada in the near future.

The Winning Teams

Hungry Heroes | Team Hungry Heroes

Canadians are doing their part by staying at home as essential workers are outside working tirelessly in the frontlines. The application, Hungry Heroes aims to boost their spirits and to show community support. By partnering with local restaurants to deliver individual safely packaged meals to workers, users who are social distancing show their appreciation and donate meals for organizations and hospitals that they care about.

NBHR | Team NBHR

While we work to flatten the curve, others are putting their lives at risk every day fighting the pandemic. NHBR is a one-to-one person application that aims to give ease to essential workers by connecting them to neighbors around their area who are looking to give back. Through their match, front-line users can create a list of to do’s for the helper along with requests they need help with ranging from dog walking and grocery shopping. This application will allow essential workers to continue to do what they for Canada while receiving basic help from Canadians who want to give back.

Back to the Market | Team Anti-Virus

As government scrambles to provide necessary supplies and services to citizens finding themselves unemployed, and businesses are facing an increasing demand to fill select jobs, Team Aspire Aniti-Virus introduces a platform called Back to the Market to connect all three stakeholders. In the platform, businesses will be able to post job opportunities, the app will provide recommended hires based on matching skills, certifications and work preferences in the job-seeking database. The online platform will bridge the gap and address newfound shortfalls in the Canadian supply chain.

Lean On | Covict 6

Team Covict 6 understands the difficulties to get necessities to vulnerable communities and the loneliness that comes with isolation. To combat these issues, they have created a service, Lean On, to connect those who need help with those willing to provide it. With this online platform, users in need can identify their needs and request a helper. Once a helper accepts a request, a match will be made between the two users to come together and communicate their needs. This application will help create a connected community that supports the most vulnerable.

Neighborhood Connect | The Bug Stops Here

Vulnerable communities often face challenges in receiving essential goods. Team The Bug Stops Here proposes an easy-to-use application, Neighbourhood Connect. With this app, the elderly can tap to request groceries based on geolocation mapping – a person signed up as a helper will be notified. Once a connection is made, the two parties can chat via the in-app messenger as the helper grabs items that the user requests and delivers the groceries to the user’s doorsteps. The app can also process payment. This tool can bridge the gap between all essential services, the vulnerable population, and healthy volunteers.

Quotes from Partner Organizations

“It’s inspiring to see so many creative, compassionate people come together quickly to tackle the serious challenges we now face in Canada and globally from the pandemic. Permanent shifts are expected within communities and societies, markets and economies, businesses and governments, and in terms of how we live and work. It is not only timely but also essential to innovate to overcome the current crisis and achieve future stability and growth,” said Jeffrey Russell, president of Accenture in Canada.

“We’re incredibly impressed with all the hackathon participants and the Consortium Team that led this effort,” said Colm Sparks-Austin, Vice President, Capgemini Canada. “We are thankful for our Capgemini team leaders, hackers and mentors for their participation and ability to put their skills, insights and social responsibility to the test in these extra-ordinary times. This is quite an accomplishment.”

“Watching this group come together as quickly as it did and seeing every individual volunteer their personal time to solve for these issues was incredible,” said Sean Hennessy, Partner, Deloitte. “At a time when there is much uncertainty about the health of our families and friends, the state of the economy and the future in general, I can say that I’ve never felt more confident in our ability to come together to help each other work through this.”

“We’re bringing our purpose of building a better working world to life to help Canadians manage the impact of COVID-19,” said Jad Shimaly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, EY Canada. “I’m humbled to see our people — alongside those from other leading companies — eagerly stepping up to make a difference. With the collective power of our organizations and people, anything is possible.”

“Technology plays a critical role in meeting the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Steven Astorino, IBM Canada Lab Director & VP Development, IBM Data & AI. “IBM is marshalling its resources and applying data, knowledge, computing power and insights to manage through the COVID -19 outbreak. We are proud to work with our peers and help Canadians overcome the challenges we are all facing. Together, as a community, we will find our way through this.”

“The possibilities that arise when you pair amazing talent with the power of technology are inspiring,” said Kevin Peesker, President of Microsoft Canada. “Collectively, we are stronger, and I am confident that together we can make a difference. Congratulations to all of the winners and participants – there is nothing more Canadian than coming together to solve a challenge and we are grateful for your contributions!”

“The hackathon is a testament that together we can solve important problems for society,” says Jason Boggs, National Consulting Leader, PwC Canada. “We are thrilled to see innovative ideas that have the potential to make a difference to people, businesses, and communities across Canada. All projects have the possibility to help Canada fight COVID-19 and help build resiliency for the future.”

Visit the SAP Canada Press Room. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNorthAmerica.

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