Skunkworks: Frequently Asked Questions

Prevention and management of wounds is a complex problem! How can we solve it in 1.5 days?

We recognize that complex problems are solved in years not days. This event will tackle a piece of the larger problem. During the 1.5 days you will get a chance to figure out what that piece is and start the development of a solution (e.g. prototype). Participants will build their journey map around the client or user that they have chosen to focus on and will identify a pain point/barriers they want to work on.

Agenda coming soon

Is the event in person or virtual?

We are planning to have it in person as there are no restrictions on organized gatherings and events in BC at this time. We’re committed to keeping the safety of our participants at the forefront and will continue to follow direction from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer. 

How much does it cost?

The event will be 100 per cent free to all participants. However, registration is limited to Providence Health Care, Providence Research, staff from partnering health authorities, affiliated academic partners, and patient partners.

What is the eligibility criteria to submit a problem or challenge?

Anyone can submit a challenge: those living with wounds problems, those researching wound problems, and those who treat patients with wound problems. We encourage patient experts and those with lived experience, doctors, nurses, entrepreneurs, industry, and community professionals to submit challenges.

Who can participate as an innovator?

The skunkworks is a multidisciplinary design competition open to anyone including researchers, doctors, healthcare professionals, patient partners, post-secondary students (e.g. design, health, engineering, computing and business students), industry experts.  Exceptions may be made by the organizing team on an individual basis.

If you were trained in medicine or the life sciences, your experience in the lab, clinic, or community will help shape the critical early stages of design to ensure relevance to the biological problem or human health impact.

If you hail from an engineering or hard science background, your programming, app development, mechanical and electrical design skills will be highly relevant to addressing the challenges posed.

If your background is in business, your intuition for marketing, finance, pitch competitions and/or entrepreneurship will help set your team apart with a clear plan for impact with the technology solution.

What is the level of commitment required?

The Challenge Champions and Innovators are expected to be present for the 1.5 days of the skunkworks event occurring on September 22 and 23, 2022.

Who is facilitating this event?

The dynamic duo from Skunkworks: Hacking Pain, Marlies van Dijk and Josh McCutcheon, will come back to guide the participants through the facilitation in Skunkworks: Hacking Wounds. Marlies and Josh are from The Pivot Group - a small but mighty design firm with deep knowledge of the health system (they are both nurses!). 

The Pivot Group is made up of a group of passionate change agents who help teams get unstuck and think differently to create action, provoking conversations to shift direction. Marlies and Josh use design thinking as a core foundation to tap into abilities and viewpoints that are often overlooked by more conventional problem-solving practices.

What problems will be pitched?

A call for applications goes out to the Providence network to identify existing problems in the area of wound prevention and care. These are reviewed before the successful applicants are invited to present their problems at the event. Before the event, applicants receive coaching in preparation for their presentation.

How can I prepare for the event?

Keep an eye on our resources page for some relevant information. As the event will seem to go by very quickly, we encourage you to have a bit of insight into problem identification and development, pitching your ideas and the judging criteria prior to the event.

How can I access materials for prototypes?

You will have access to craft materials during Hacking Wounds.

How will winning teams be selected?

Teams will demonstrate their solution and pitch their plan to a panel of judges on Day 2 of the event. Judges will evaluate teams based on several criteria. Check back on our website for updates, or get updates once you've registered.

What are the prizes?

Although this is not the focus of the event, we believe a big part of medical innovation is translating and implementing your brilliant ideas. We will have over $5000 in monetary and in-kind prizes to award; stay tuned for more information.

What does a team look like?

  • All teams must be led by a PHC or Providence Research staff member
  • Teams should have 4 to 5 people
  • Diverse mix of skills

How are teams formed?

After the presenters have pitched their problems, presenters will be asked to stand around the room. The other participants will be asked to “vote with their feet” and choose the problem they are most interested in hacking.

Who can I talk to for more information?