1.      Why innovate.healthcare?

We believe that innovation is magic that happens when people with no blinders on and from different backgrounds meet in a stimulating environment to dedicate time to a specific field of interest. For us, this is health-care. This is why we are trying to create the perfect ecosystem where we think we will see innovation happen right in front of us. Our goal is to provide you with the best minds and tangible challenges to really make a difference in health-care and patient care.

2.      Who is behind innovate.healthcare

We are a small group of dedicated individuals who crave for excellence and innovation in health-care, life sciences and medicine. We bring a considerable number of years in the industry and in patient care to the table. With this background, we have teamed up with partners from politics and industry to make our vision real: Patient empowerment and patient centricity.

3.      What is the goal of innovate.healthcare

innovate.healthcare is a hackathon and a networking venue. Our goal is to bring bright minds and great ideas together in a stimulating environment. We want people to interact and interchange ideas, thoughts, and wishes and believes for this is the cradle to new entrepreneurial endeavors. We want you to interact with each other on eye level and we want the participants to be able to go out after this event and start founding their own company in health-care.

4.      Why is innovate.healthcare in English

We think innovation nowadays transcends the borders of countries and languages. This is why we have the idea of innovate.healthcare being a truly international venue. We want to welcome guests from any place of this planet, but we are especially thankful for our cooperation with individuals, consortia and academia from the Netherlands and Belgium where we hope to see a number of guests coming from. In order to not exclude anyone, we decided to do all the communication in English in the first place.

5.      Does this mean I need to speak English all the time?

This might be the case for all plenum discussions, the framework programme, the pitch in part and the jury but if your team consists of native speakers of one language other than English, you are free to use whatever language you like.

6.      How does innovate.healthcare work?

First of all it is your task to select one of our challenges, give us some information about you (eg. your professional background) and purchase a ticket for participation. Teams will be put together in advance by us according to the number of participants for every challenge. Every team will have a dedicated and designated team captain who will lead the team throughout these 2.5 days. The team captain should already have a fundamental understanding of the challenge. This does not mean that the team captain should have an idea of how to approach the challenge – on the contrary: please come open-mindedly.
After a reverse pitch by the team captain, the teams will break into their team rooms and work there theoretically until Sunday noon. The reverse pitch means, that the team captain has to present the challenge and himself to the audience. This helps in spreading the content of the individual challenges throughout the participants and is the first exercise in pitching.

7.      I have an interest in healthcare but to me this is such a huge field. Do I get some support?
We provide support from our skilled coaches for specific questions a team might have in order to provide a proper preparation for our pitching event on Sunday afternoon at the IHK (chamber of commerce) where a Jury will sit and decide about the winners.

8.      Where do the challenges come from?
We take a lot of pride in the fact that we have a number of real world challenges. This means, we are working on real world problems with real physicians and real patients. This is also, where the challenges come from and this is why everything you do directly matters at the patient level.

9.      I have a challenge, can I post it?
Sure you can. Please run it by us and provide your contact details so we can reach out to you. Make sure you are ready to act as challenge owner.

10.   How do I find the right challenge for me?

Just go to our challenge page and read the abstracts. If a topic catches your eye, you may go deeper and read the entire description. Upon purchase of a ticket, please indicate your preferred challenge, so we know your likes and dislikes. Please also add some information on your background (eg. your profession, significant experiences, expectations).

11.   How do teams come together?

Teams are actually being put together by us in the first place. We are looking for heterogeneity in age, sex, provenience and experience. Diversity is what we believe to be the keystone for successful innovation. Get your blinders off and go ahead.

12.   Do I need to prepare?

Just be yourself. Do not come with predefined solutions. If everyone does, you will spent too much time discussing why the team should go ahead with your idea rather than taking full advantage of the whole potential that sleeps with in your team. If you are not a doctor, don’t worry, there will be one to teach you about anything you would need to know. If you are not an economist, don’t worry, someone will show you how to business plan.

13.   What is the role of a team captain?

The Team Captain leads the team. S/he has some fundamental information on the challenge from the challenge owner and has prepared a reverse pitch to hold on Friday night to get him/herself a team together. It is completely up to the team captain to deliver proof of his standing with a great reverse pitch, so the team member will look at him/her for advice and business planning.

14.   How do I become a team captain?

Just let us know you fell in love with one challenge and you want to go ahead with this challenge to make a difference. We will contact you and talk the challenge through with you in order to finally come to a decision about your potential role as a team captain.

15.   What is the role of a challenge owner?

The Challenge Owner is a health-care specialist who brings in a problem that looks for a solution. S/he can work as mentor to the team captain to bring him/her up to speed ahead of the venue. The Challenge Owner is also supposed to support solutions that have been invented for the idea and can operate as a business angel or door opener at one point in time.

16.   Are there any pure industry challenges?

Technically, we could install pure industry challenges with complete teams coming from an industry partner. If this happens, these challenges will be closed to the public due to IP specific questions.
We do not support industry companies turfing their problems into our hackathon and then picking their solutions right from within without giving back. This might be doable but not without a further contract and clear IP regulations.

Nonetheless, we have installed two industry challenges where we want to support already existing startup ideas (e. g. Nexpaq) especially in the health-care arena. The IP will stay with the team whereas the industry partner will provide NDA relevant input though their developer kits.

17.   How do I become a challenge owner?

If you have wondered about some effectiveness issues in your everyday life in health-care, life sciences and medicine and tried to figure out a way of how to describe the challenge to others, then you are more than halfway through on your way of becoming a challenge owner.

18.   What is the role of a coach?

Coaches are experts in their field and their job is it to shed the light of their specific reality onto your product or business model. This is the reason why we bring in people form sick-funds, hospitals, practices but also from industry and politics, too. They will help you make your solution Q&A proof in the end and they will provide a concise reality check towards clinical practicability and patient usability as well as financial risk assessments. 

19.   How do I book a coach?

Coaches can be booked, one at a time and once per coach throughout the venue and for 30 minutes, only. The booking has to be done in advance. We will provide a board with coaches, their background and fields of expertise and their availability on. Groups need than to organize themselves and the coaches will follow up according to the arranged appointments. Please mind the time-keeping: 30 minutes, hard stop.

20.   How do I become a coach?

If you think you can contribute and show us your USPs, we need to talk in person or on the phone on what kind of role would be appropriate for you and whether it is needed at that moment.

21.   Will there be enough food and beverages?

Yes there will. We stroke a deal with a pizza service who will also be enough beverages for thirsty tinkerer’s throats. Just for the protocol: Alcoholic beverages are not available.

22.   I am a vegetarian. Will I have to bring my own food?

Of course not. We will take care of your alimentary needs and have a separate menu from the one of the carnivores. If nonetheless you have a medical condition that requires a special diet, we will most likely not be able to cover that.

23.   Can I stay overnight at the Startplatz? Can I crash there?

You may stay overnight at the Startplatz to work on your idea, but you can not sleep there. There will be not beds or matrasses and due to fire safety restrictions, the rooms are a no backpacking and crashing zone.

24.   Where do I stay overnight?

If you decide not to continuously work on your idea and you need a place to crash, please make sure you prebook a hotel or hostel bed asap. Cologne offers a lot of diversity apt for any wallet biopsy.

25.   What do I need to bring?

Yourself, a fresh mind and the lust to get involved and do.

26.   What happens if my team wins?

You are going to be a lucky bunch. This means the jury considers your idea as a good and full of potential. With the prizes, you can go ahead and kick start your business.

27.   What kind of prizes can I win?

Most of the prizes to be won are valuable vouchers for products your startup will surely be in need of: Free patent lawyer consulting, free tax accounting, coinvesting and of course some cold hard cash. We will have at least three different categories of winners, which increase your chance to get your hands on one of our prestigious prizes.

28.   Who owns the team idea or solution we came up with?

The team idea or solution you came up with is owned by the team. The Challenge Owners do not have any rights nor do the industry partners. This is your idea, your concept! Do something with it!

29.   Are there any closed industry teams?

Some industries are very keen on innovation in healthcare. This is why they have approached us to set up industry teams comprising of members of individual companies. We have not set up such teams as of today, but would consider this an appropriate idea to make maximal use of our ecosystem and provide financial incentives to potential startup founders.

30.   How is the jury set up?

We have set up a Jury of 12 just like in the good old movies. We have people from politics, from finance, from practicing medicine, from industry and from the patient perspective in there. We also have well-established accelerators in the audience and in the jury. They can be your next handshake for your company and take you on into their incubators. The heterogeneity of the Jury makes sure the decisions are being taken a holistic view in mind.

31.   I have never pitched in front of a jury, let alone in English and with just 5 minutes at my hand. Help!

Do not worry. Many people are in your shoes. We have a skilled pitch doctor in our venue who will help you set up a presentation and a perfect pitch to bring across your idea within 5 minutes.

32.   Is there a parallel or framework programme throughout the hackathon?

Yes, there is a parallel or framework programme. If for whatever reason you need a break from your work, we will provide a number of interesting speeches alongside the venue. You will be informed properly who is speaking when and about what. We will have a dashboard in the venue that tells you so.

33.   What happens after innovate.healthcare?

Someone once said: After the game is before the game. We will see what went well and what needs mending and if we are brave enough to start over, we might implant this format on a regular basis, but that is far from being concrete.
We are interested in following up with the network of participants and in monitoring the winners’ business success to find out about best practices and share those with our friends at the EU level. For you and your solution, this could be the time when you found your company and hit the road running. Everything is prepared.

34.   Who are the HealthCare Futurists?

The HealthCare Futurists is a network of people from all different occupations who harbor a common interest in health-care, life sciences and medicine. It is their mutual believe to save patients and approach innovation in an undogmatic way, where needed and unpolitical and pragmatic way, where possible.

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