Group of people cheering and holding prize checks

“Hacking” good solutions for a healthy future

Written by Margrethe Zacho Haarde.

What if Big multinational companies gathered all the health data from the Nordic countries? And what if they used those data for health tech innovation that would improve the quality of Nordic living? Or - what if we did this ourselves?

"Exactly! That is one of the reasons why Nordic Innovation runs Nordic Health Hackathons", says Rasmus Malmborg, Senior Innovation Adviser in Nordic Innovation.

"We want to make sure that the ownership of these coming inventions and vast possibilities are held by our own Nordic developers, designers, businesses  and health care systems."

Group of people discussing.
Participants at the Nordic Health Hackathon. Photo: Kristian Ridder-Nielsen.

Improve Quality of Life

Sunday 27th of October Malmborg was one of the impressed ones, watching different suggestions to health tech inventions being presented on stage in Demark. The arrangement was made in cooperation with The Danish University DTU. Nearly one hundred young people from all the Nordic countries were represented, 80 per cent students, participated in the competition.  

"Of course, arrangements like these also are about PR for our organisation. We want young innovators and start up businesses to know that we exist and that working and thinking Nordic is important. Health, demography and Quality of Life is one of our three main programmes during 2018 until 2021. We really believe that hackathons like this one, are contributing to fulfilling our aims", he says and explains:

"Our vision is that in 2030 the Nordics will be the most sustainable and integrated health region in the world. And we will provide the best possible health care to improve the life of our citizens. This needs to be done in a secure and smart way."

Teams at hackhathons collaborate to solve a specific task or problem. Photo: Kristian Ridder-Nielsen.

Team up

So what exactly is a hackathon? Rasmus Malmborg explains that a hackathon is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in digital innovation collaborate intensively on solving a specific task or a problem. It is built for rapid prototyping and innovation.

"Some of the participants sign up on their own, while others show up in established hubs. Sometimes they develop prototypes, but most often they present descriptions on how a certain problem can be solved. In our health hackathons they use data sets from the Nordics that are already available. We make sure they have mentors available during the hackathon."

Will some of the inventions actually end up as real products for the mass marked?

"Yes, we have seen examples on that earlier. Anyway, the most important thing is to showcase what is possible to get out of data sets which already exist in the Nordics."

Freyr Ketilsson: "We are facing a revolution"

Freyr Ketilsson, the founder and Chairman of the board at Iceland Venture Studio and CEO for Dattaca Labs in Iceland, has been a close and excellent collaborator for Nordic Innovation through three Health Hackathons this year.

His company assists other companies with securing data and digital information. They also invest in the health tech area, which is an area that interests him a lot.

"The health care system in the Nordic region is a big challenge because it is based on the face-to-face meeting between patient and doctor. But we are starting to see a change in the state of mind of health professionals because self-monitoring is starting to become relatively easy. I am sure we are facing a revolution."  

What exactly is the social gain of developing a lot of health apps?

"We are of course not only talking about apps. But the point is, that all governments today are pouring out billions for medical treatment. In the future a lot of this treatment and medication might become unnecessary because technology will make preventive health care so much easier."

DTU / Skylab. Photo: Kristian Ridder-Nielsen.

And the winners are…  

1st Price – 30.000 DKK

Agzam Idrissov, Parid Doksami and Stephanie Willemoe with “Seed Boost”

"We have invented a sensor, which is connected to an app. The sensor is for men suffering from poor quality sperm. The sensor is placed in their underwear to measure the temperature and remind the user to take action if the condition for semen is lowered during the day."

How did you come up with this idea?

"I have, together with billions of men in the world, this condition myself. I thought it would be helpful to have a reminder for protection especially in periods trying to get pregnant with your partner."

2nd Price 20.000 DKK

Johannes Reiche, Sofus Steenberger and Valerie Grappendorf with “eScooter”

"We have created a solution that can be integrated in el-scooter renting apps."

The aim with this solution is to discover when potential riders of scooters are too drunk to ride before they hop on. If they open the app, it will, via the audio and video equipment in their smartphone, be able to disclose if a person is to drunk to ride.

How will you continue developing this innovation?

"We are already working with the Danish municipal of Vejle to do a pilot project in cooperation with el scooter company Voi."

3. Price 10.000 DKK

Nicolai Jensen, Navideh Brabi and Sotiris Lambrinidis with “Vitamin D”

"People in the Nordics lack vitamin D, this is particularly a problem in the northern part of the Nordics, and we have developed an app to keep toll on your level of this vitamin without having to give a blood sample."

How is that possible?

"For example,  we are using information on how often you are  outside and the weather in the area you are staying, to measure how long you should expose yourself to the sun, or what kind of food you should eat that day, to cover the daily need of this vital vitamin."


Portrait Rasmus Malmborg

Rasmus Malmborg

Senior Innovation Adviser
Rasmus has extensive international experience in complex project management, predominantly within health care system development. Prior to joining Nordic Innovation, Rasmus has been with LHL International for nine years and worked the last four years as CEO.

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Lena Henriksson

Lena Henriksson

Head of Communication
Visionary change maker who believes in a good strategy. Combined communication and marketing expert with working experience from the broadcasting businesses Swedish Radio and UR. Walked from Media to Business and became responsible for marketing, corporate communication and PR in startups and institutes. Interested in making a difference with great communication.

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