In Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo is often described as the Silicon Valley of the North as an incubator for technology. Despite the accolades, we operate within a fragmented health tech siloed ecosystem. Waterloo Region has many incredible incubators, entrepreneurs, research bodies, and healthcare systems. Yet, inefficient communication leads to duplication and missed opportunities for growth.
Our vision for Hacking Health Waterloo is to be the recognized connector for health tech innovation and improvement in the Region. We facilitate or enable conversations. We endeavour to create a bridge and conduit for more than 1,000 members to seek help and explore the unmet needs in health.
Our vision is to be the recognized connector for health tech innovation and improvement in the Region.
Kitchener-Waterloo is bustling with health tech-related conferences and Hackathons. Through 2018, these included Hack4Health 4.0 at St Paul’s Greenhouse, Waterloo MedTech conference and an AGE-WELL workshop on technology solutions to social isolation in older adults. May’s True North conference at Lot42 attracted more than 2,000 delegates considering Tech for good. Transformative innovation starts by connecting technology creators, healthcare professionals, and health consumers across the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN).
Acting as a regional connector extends behind the geographic boundaries to plug the local community into the broader Ontario and Canadian health tech ecosystem. To that end, the Hacking Health Waterloo members have participated in the Hacking Health Ottawa HIP613, Hacking Health Toronto Ideathon, and new Hacking Health YGK chapter (Kingston, ON).
We can learn from each other through the Hacking Health network.
We have work ahead of us to engage more clinicians and engage patients to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems. We can learn from each other through the Hacking Health network. There are few situations that one of the other chapters have not previously encountered.
It has never been easier to start a business says HubSpot, while at the same time acknowledging that scaling a business is becoming harder than ever. Anthony Lacereva notes that Canada is possibly the best place to start a business and the hardest place to grow one. An exemplary illustration is the HHOttawa HIP613.
In 2019, Hacking Health Waterloo has collaborated with the Regional Innovation Centre, Communitech, for a hackathon in conjunction with True North. This event has engaged local health players while inviting partners from across Ontario. The theme was focused on Aging, Social Isolation, and Health. More details about this dual-city hackathon will be shared in a future post.
Our hackathons, therefore, must not just create the best ideas but provide a journey to scale profitable growth.
About the author: John Gregory is Partner Lead of the Hacking Health Waterloo chapter and Head of Global Growth at the Hacking Health Foundation.