24 February 2015

Manpower Hackathon 2015

24 February 2015

Day 1 – 6 February 2015

The Manpower Hackathon, an event to crowdsource ideas to tackle manpower challenges through technology, officially kicked off on Friday, 6 February with 81 participants signing up!

We had Ms Ang Mui Kim (left photo: CIO, Ministry of Manpower) and Derrick Chiang (right photo: CEO, Padang & Co.) officially opened the event and welcomed the participants before handing it over to the experts on the three themes to elaborate on their challenges:

Theme 1: Improving Engagement with Workers – Gabriel Koh, Senior Assistant Director (Joint Operations Directorate)

Theme 2: Designing the Next Generation Workpass – Silas Sng, Director Customer Experience, Policy & Strategy

Theme 3: Driving Excellence through Workplace Safety and Health – Richard Wong, Senior Assistant Director, Occupational Safety & Health Division (OSHD)

We also had speakers from different stakeholder groups to provide alternative perspectives to the challenges. Mr William Chew from the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (FAST) (right in photo), as well as Dr Tan Lai Yong (left in photo), Fellow at College of Alice and Peter Tan, NUS, sharing the challenges associated with employing foreign workers over a panel discussion. 

Next, we had a lively discussion on issues relating to workplace safety and health with Mr Don Wilson Paua from Woh Hup (left in photo), Ms Lucy Tan representing Natsteel (middle in photo) and Dr Goh Yang Miang (right in photo), NUS.

People from all walks of life had signed up for the hackathon – from data experts, to researchers, marketers, developers, designers and entrepreneurs – and they couldn’t wait to head straight to the pitching session.

The floor was then turned to the participants who eagerly came forward to pitch their preliminary ideas to the audience; there were friends who banded together with pre-formed teams, husband-wife teams and of course, individual participants who joined the hackathon to meet others who are like-minded.                       


Voila! 25 teams were formed! That’s the highest number of participants so far in the series of Hackathons organised.

We can’t wait for everyone to get started tomorrow…

Day 2 – 7 February 2015
Everyone arrived early and bright-eyed on Saturday morning – after a light breakfast, it’s time to give those creative juices a whirl!
The event is building up steam – at 10.30am, Adam (Executive Chairman, Padang & Co.) and Derrick (CEO, Padang & Co.), who are helping to facilitate discussions, check in with all the teams by listening to their ideas and guiding them on how to proceed.

The teams work tirelessly throughout Saturday to get their prototypes working and their presentations ready for the final presentation session the next day.

This is no ordinary weekend; can you smell innovation in the air?

The teams also had the opportunity to sign up for consultation slots with our mentors and experts from MOM who provided specific insights about the issues the teams were trying to address with their prototypes.

Day 3 – 8 February 2015
Rise and Shine, it’s presentation day!
Sunday morning began with presentation clinics for each team – Adam and Derrick listened to the teams’ pitch presentations and gave advice on how they could improve their presentations and succinctly explain their ideas. The clinic also tested the teams’ prototypes.

The crucial moment – the final presentation – was where teams present their ideas and prototypes to our panel of judges. Minister for Manpower, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin was the Guest-of-Honour for the event and joined the judges for the final presentation session.

Annnnd…here we go!

It’s really a wonder that we had so many great ideas in just over a weekend – from mobile apps, data visualisation tools, to prototypes of wearable technology and many more!

Who says judges can’t join in the fun?

The presentations were amazing…

*Drum roll please* Time to announce the prize winners!

 Team Viewbot won the Best Design Award for their interactive visualisations of government datasets. (Psst…the youngest participant is in this team – only 15 years old, so impressive!)

Team Safe Touch, a husband-wife team, took home the Best Tech Award for their design of Safe Touch – a wearable device that helps maintain hand hygiene at the workplace.

Another husband-wife team, Team TBG (with a mini-TBG baby along the way, congrats!) won the Best Use of Open Data prize for Project Pantang – their interactive visualisations of government data that help finds trends of activity in government departments over a year.

The Underwater Firefighters won the 3rd prize for their mobile social gaming platform that helps educate and evaluate the safety knowledge of foreign workers to better engage them.

SDI Academy came in at 2nd place for their English proficiency platform that allows foreign workers to learn English by completing small translation tasks in their native language.

Tadahh! Team “The Card” claimed the 1st prize for The Card – a Next Generation Work Pass model that uses a bonus bar concept to help MOM get automatic updates on employees’ employment details and communicate with workers while reducing the wastage of Work Passes replaced on a regular basis.

The winning team was made up of five strangers - not all have a programming background – who only met each other for the first time during this hackathon. Each member sees much potential for their idea to go far, as it is able to address all three themes. With a single card, its services can be extended to benefit foreign workers themselves, their employers and MOM, who keeps tracks of work permit details…etc.

Now raise your hands if you think a hackathon is a wonderful platform to share knowledge and source for ideas!

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