All posts tagged: True North

The Waterloo Region’s Connector

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.

Follow John on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Delphine DavanThe Waterloo Region’s Connector
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True North Hackathon Co-Design Finale | HHWaterloo

This exciting True North event at Communitech brings four winning teams from Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa hackathons to a showcase finale. The event is made possible by a grant from AGE-WELL.

5:00 – 5:30 pm Networking reception
5:30 – 6:00 pm Welcome
6:00 – 6.30 pm Keynote, Balaji Gopalan, MedStack
6:30 – 7:15 pm Four projects showcase
7:15 – 8:00 pm Directed team mentoring
8:15 – 8:30 pm Judges announcement
8:30 – 9:00 pm Wrap-up and thanks

The teams will pitch their inspiring solutions that address Social Isolation, Aging and Technology, and compete for a cash prize of $2,000 donated by SE Health.

The teams include:
mBracelet – a prototype device and phone app that transmits touch from person to person
HealthMoves – a wearable medical device that provides feedback on patients recovering from injuries
Neighbour – a market-based platform that connects people in need to others in the community
Experify – an accessible facility-based platform that combats social isolation

We have invited five expert judges for this session:
Dr. Alex Mihailidis – Associate VP International, University of Toronto & Scientific Director, AGE-WELL
Dr. Nicole Didyk – Geriatrician/Internist
Mary Pat Hinton – Founder & CEO, Emmetros
Ron Beleno – Caregiver advocate
Mary Lou Ackerman – VP Innovation, SE Health

The evening starts at 5 pm with a light meal and reception. We ask that you are seated by 5:30 and if attending, commit to staying to the end of the evening. All attendees will participate in two directed team mentoring sessions. These provide feedback and share insights with the teams, and will have a chance to rank the teams for the judges’ deliberations.

This special community event is designed to nurture these newly formed teams and help their solutions move through the development cycle, so they can contribute to improving the lives of people living in our regions. We will have a large and diverse group of pitchers, volunteers and mentors at this event, so expect to bump into someone you know, and learning something new!

Hacking Health TorontoTrue North Hackathon Co-Design Finale | HHWaterloo
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True North Hackathon | HH Waterloo

We invite healthcare professionals, designers, patients, developers, innovators, students and entrepreneurs to take part in building useable solutions to frontline healthcare problems. Join us Friday, May 31 to Sunday, June 02 for Hacking Health Waterloo’s Hackathon in conjunction with True North taking place at Kitchener City Hall.

Register officially here

Why participate in the Hacking Health Hackathon and what to expect…

Our hackathons are a fun, hands-on, intense, 3-day hackathon that breaks down barriers to healthcare innovation in Kitchener-Waterloo. Our goal isn’t just to organize hackathons, it’s to have a long-term impact on our healthcare system. This hackathon in conjunction with True North will take place simultaneously in Ottawa and Kitchener-Waterloo. We can’t wait to see you contribute to a hackathon project that can be brought to market for the benefit of communities everywhere – we have the resources to help you get there!

At the hackathon, teams will pitch ideas, get advice from experts and build solutions that can be integrated and implemented into our healthcare system. We are excited to see the projects you’re dreaming up come to life!

The rules of the hackathon are available here that we encourage you to read. 

Hackathon Schedule

True North Hackathon, Hacking Health, Social Isolation, Ottawa, Waterloo

Friday, May 31

5:00 – 6:00 PM Registration Opens, Food & Networking

6:00 – 7:00 PM Local speakers with mentors table available

7:00 – 7:15 PM Opening Ceremony

7:15 – 8:00 PM Pitch Clinic

8:00 – 8:30 PM 1-minute pitches

8:30 – 10:00 PM Team Formation & Networking

10:00 PM End of Day 1

Saturday, Jun 01

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Hacking Starts

12:00 PM Lunch & Judging Criteria Presentation

1:00 PM Hacking

5:00 PM Dinner

9:00 PM End of Day 2

Sunday, June 02

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Hacking

10:00 AM Pitch Clinic

12:00 PM Lunch

12:30 PM Hacking Ends

1:00 PM Final Pitching to Judges

2:00 PM Judges Deliberate

2:30 PM Announcement of Hackathon Winners

2:45 PM Closing Remarks

2019 Theme

Social Isolation, Aging, and Technology is our theme for this dual-city hackathon. Social isolation affects many people, particularly the aged, and links with the Tech for good theme for the True North conference. The hackathon aim is to break down barriers to healthcare innovation by bringing together healthcare professionals, IT, designers, policy analysts, students, patients and entrepreneurs to collaborate, dream up & create solutions to real-world problems to improve healthcare. Read about the basics of Social Isolation here. These basics will help you frame the inspiration for your project.

What is Hacking Health?

Hacking Health is an international movement designed to improve healthcare by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems. It is a grass-roots, bottom-up movement. Learn more about Hacking Health.

Who can participate?

Anyone – you don’t have to be a developer to participate!

What if I don’t have a team?

There are many opportunities to meet potential team members, and connect a mix of skills to bring together a team in the first couple hours of the hackathon weekend.

Can I start before the event?

We understand that you are excited to solve problems but please refrain from developing the solution before the Hackathon. Feel free to ideate, design, post, update, review, join a project on Sparkboard once you’ve registered!

Are you interested in sponsoring our hackathon?

Hacking Health Waterloo is powered by an incredible group of sponsors. We’d love to have you join us! Take a look at our sponsorship package if you are interested in sponsoring our hackathon.

Will food and drinks be provided?

Breakfasts and lunches will be catered for you this weekend, together with a food truck on Friday evening. Bring a refillable water bottle. If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know:

What should I bring?

Your laptop, charger, your ideas and a refillable water bottle.

Be sure to register officially here

Hacking Health TorontoTrue North Hackathon | HH Waterloo
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Development Workshop | HH Waterloo

This special Hacking Health (HH) cafe launches our series of 2019 Hackathon events in conjunction with True North. Events will occur simultaneously in Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa.

Here is the Hackathon Eventbrite sign-up link here

The evening will focus on a Hackathon 101 and introduce the hackathon theme of Social Isolation, Aging and Technology. 

• 6:00 – 6:30 pm: Networking and light snacks

• 6:30 – 6:40 pm: Opening remarks

• 6:40 – 7:00 pm: Keynote speaker

• 7:00 – 7:20 pm: Hackathon 101

• 7:20 – 7:40 pm: What is design thinking

• 7:40 – 8:00 pm: Social Isolation in Waterloo-Wellington

• 8:00 – 8:30 pm: Guide to Sparkboard and team formation

• 8:30 – 9:00 pm: Wrap-up and Networking

Hope to see you there!

True North Hackathon, Hacking Health, Social Isolation, Ottawa, Waterloo

Hacking Health WaterlooDevelopment Workshop | HH Waterloo
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