Skunkworks: Hacking Wounds

September 22 (7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and September 23 (7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Holiday Inn & Suites Vancouver Downtown
1110 Howe St (cross street Helmcken St), Vancouver, BC V6Z 1R2
Front Desk: 1-604-684-2151

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Hosted by Providence Research in partnership with St. Paul’s Foundation, this is a unique innovation event designed to tackle the challenges faced by patients and the community when dealing with wounds. This event helps underscore a particular Providence tradition: putting people in the greatest need at the centre of our research priorities. Hacking Wounds is held in collaboration with the Discover, Learn & Innovate for Impact Physician Advisory Committee, Providence Health Innovation, Research + Engagement, and Providence Health Care.

What does skunkworks mean?
The term originated in the 1940s. Skunk Works was an alias for an American engineering lab that worked on top-secret and innovative programs at Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. Today, the word “skunkworks” describes a project developed by a loosely structured group of people who identify issues and pilot creative solutions.

About this event:
This isn’t your typical conference or seminar. Building off the success of Hacking Pain, we hope our second skunkworks event, Hacking Wounds, will be a catalyst for innovation. There are many challenges around wounds waiting to be solved, but often researchers, health care professionals, caregivers, and patients do not have a chance to collaborate and share expertise to ideate together.

Skunkworks brings multidisciplinary teams together and empowers them with mentorship and rapid problem solving tools to address challenges related to wounds and wound care.

Why wounds?
Wounds have been referred to as "the silent epidemic." They have a variety of causes, ranging from surgical intervention and injury to underlying conditions, such as diabetes or vascular disease. For example, someone with diabetes has a 25% lifetime risk of developing a high-risk chronic wound. Whatever the cause, the impact of wounds on the health care system is immense. In hospitals, 15% to 40% of beds are estimated to be occupied by patients with wounds. In addition to  the cost of managing wounds, wounds can have a profound effect on the quality of life of those living with them. Patients could be unaware they are at high risk of non-healing wounds, which, if left untreated, can lead to hospitalization, amputation, and even death. According to Wounds Canada, many types of wounds are preventable, and efforts in prevention are more cost-effective than waiting until treatment is required.

Registration is limited to Providence Health Care, Providence Research, staff from partnering health authorities, affiliated academic partners, and patient partners. Exceptions may be made by the organizing team on an individual basis.

How does the program work?

Challenge Champions will pitch their problems to the skunkworks participants on Thursday morning. Participants can vote with their feet and join a team that is tackling a problem they are passionate about. Teams will spend Thursday designing, building, testing, validating and fine-tuning their prototypes or solutions. Mentors will be available to refine ideas and provide advice. Fuel up on complimentary breakfast and lunch. On Friday morning, teams will present their prototypes to the judges for a chance to win awards.

The final pitch event will be attended by thought leaders and other innovators and shared widely on social media and other platforms. This is the day not to miss!

What's in it for you?
By participating in this fun and competitive event, you are an innovator! Our innovators will have access to the following opportunities and experiences:

  • Network and collaborate with industry professionals as well as like-minded, multidisciplinary innovators;

  • Develop skills in ideation, prototyping, and pitching that will help you come up with impactful solutions to real problems;

  • Learn from influential mentors and judges from business (innovation and entrepreneurship), product development, applied research, and education (e.g. engineers, technologists, industrial designers, manufacturing specialists, and design thinkers) as well as patient partners;

  • Work with a health professional on a challenge that interests you;

  • Apply your knowledge to a meaningful health care challenge;

  • Build your leadership and teamwork experience;

  • Receive support, mentorship, and expertise to bring your ideas to life;

  • Be part of a solution (e.g. minimum viable products: an early version of a solution that could range from a product to a service) that can be fast-tracked for further development and implementation in a healthcare setting;

  • Enjoy complimentary breakfast and lunch (day 1) and breakfast (day 2).

This event is free, but space is limited. Registration open until all seats filled.





Interested in learning more? Email


Innovation Sponsors





Break Sponsor


Change Maker Sponsor










There are still sponsorship opportunities available for this event. If you are interested in learning more please contact:

Peter McLoughlin
Manager, Corporate Partnerships