Hacking Health Brings the Future of Work to the Okanagan

Blog November 13, 2019

Posted by Sara Scott

Hacking Health Brings the Future of Work to the Okanagan Featured Image

The strength of our community lies in our ability to collaborate and our willingness to think differently and even try something new. If we want to solve the complex problems our communities are facing, we will need innovative solutions—and that means not just thinking big but thinking BOLD! 

Hacking Health was born out of the idea that bringing together a group of innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers, driven to shape the future of health would likely generate new and exciting solutions in the healthcare space. 

This hackathon was hosted at the Innovation Centre on October 17 and consisted of a full day of facilitated hacking led by Rocky Ozaki and his team from the NoW of Work. It was not about coding or app development. It was about using collaboration and diversity as tools to inspire innovative ideas and human-centered solutions. 

Connections were made, ideas were hatched, and the results exceeded our wildest expectations. Here is a look behind the curtain of Hacking Health… 


With any hackathon, success requires a diverse group of engaged participants. This one-day event brought together local clinicians, students from Okanagan College, BC Cancer & Interior Health staff, and members of the OKGNtech community eager to collaborate and define creative solutions in cancer prevention. 

“Hacking Health was a great opportunity to participate and innovate within the Healthcare space. Meeting participants with various domain backgrounds really helped in coming up with new and creative solutions.” –  Barrett Sharpe, QHR Employee


BC Cancer framed the problem for the day’s challenge: “How might we empower our communities to reduce the incidence of cancer.” Rocky Ozaki and his team from the NoW Work Inc, along with a team of local mentors, facilitated the event. Their job was to help guide the participants through a day of hacking & pitching.


Participants hacked their way through customer discovery and business model creation. To help shape their ideas, they were encouraged to use “I wish…” and “I like…” statements when providing feedback to their teammates. 

“Hacking Health was an amazing opportunity to work with a variety of people including health care professionals to implement a pitch that can help the community with cancer prevention. This experience helped me think out of the box with the help of mentors and let me share my ideas in a comfortable setting.” – Katlynn Soper,  Student, Okanagan College


Pitching to the judges can be an unnerving task! After a full day of hacking and building their business, presentations were made. Our group of bold and brave participants took to the stage to pitch to an expert panel of judges;

  • Denise Williams, CEO of the First Nations Technology Council

  • Philip Ashman, Regional Dean, Central Okanagan, Okanagan College

  • Brea Lake, CEO of Accelerate Okanagan

  • Marco Carlone, Medical Physics Department Head, BC Cancer 

  • Dr. Philip Barker,  Vice-Principal and Associate Vice-President, Research and Innovation, UBCO


Two prizes were awarded at the end of the day – the BEST idea and the WILDEST idea. The Best Idea went to the Ladies Who Launch, an organization aimed at teaching healthy habits and nutrition to youth around Canada. Members of the winning team won six-months of mentorship with Accelerate Okanagan Executives-in-Residence. The hope is that this team will lean on our mentors to explore the feasibility of this new and innovative concept. The Wildest Idea went to Team #2, a smart toilet that tests stool samples. 

A toast to our sponsors QHR Technologies & Okanagan College for their support and participation in this project. It demonstrates their commitment to community collaboration and innovation and is a prime example of how local companies and educators are embracing the future of work. 

This concept of hacking is not going anywhere. In fact, we are seeing it pop up all over our community. Events like the Okanagan Water Forum and City of Kelowna Design Jam are growing in numbers and are having a flywheel effect on our community. 

How will you shape the future?

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