Contributed by StrategiQ
12/06/2019 - StrategiQ
Over the weekend of 24th – 26th May 2019, a team of passionate people attended Innovate Suffolk’s 48-Hour Hackathon and worked tirelessly day and night to come up with, pitch and start to build ideas for real-world solutions to help combat mental health issues.
The Hackathon is essentially a 48-hour window in which a team can pitch, present, build, design and create an app, website, platform or anything else within the given theme or topic. The theme of the event was determined after the recent Mental Health Awareness Week, which sparked an idea – “What if we could build programs, apps, devices and more to help improve mental health?”.
After the recent addition of psychologist Sue Firth to our employee well-being initiatives, the StrategiQ team felt this was a perfect opportunity to get more involved in the local community and take further steps to be a part of the movement to raise awareness for mental health.
Two members of the StrategiQ team took part in the event – SEO Executive Kara Thurkettle as a contributor and Business and Marketing Consultant Nick Stacey in a mentoring role.
A Mentor’s role is to assist the teams through the process, providing a sounding board where they might find sticking points or have questions around financial viability, marketing, structure, timelines or anything else. In addition, the mentors formed a panel that the teams pitched to over the course of the weekend.
“The key thing I took away was how utterly humbled I was watching the journey all the competitors went on over a 48 hour period. From pitching their initial ideas, with some really serious anxiety and nerves, to becoming incredibly confident and really believing in their pitches and themselves – it was inspiring to see. It was brilliant to mix with so many talented individuals from the Ipswich area and understand the sort of resources available in our region – something that it sometimes feels like we just don’t shout about in “sleepy Suffolk”. I’m also really impressed with the individual talent we have in and around Suffolk and that one of StrategiQ’s team members were on the winning team.” – Nick Stacey, Mentor for the Hackathon and Business and Marketing Consultant at StrategiQ.
Kara Thurkettle was among the contributors and formed a team with Shaun Plummer, a software developer from Coderus. They pitched the winning app named StressBuddy. Inspired by an activity introduced to the StrategiQ team by Sue Firth, StressBuddy is underpinned by behavioural conditioning principles and designed to be a self-help platform that acts as a ‘buddy’ and offers CBT style breathing techniques, meditation, tracking and mind games that can help users combat feelings of anxiety, depression, anger and other common symptoms. It also features health reporting for medical professionals, with the ability to record triggers and feelings during periods of distress, as well as access to a ‘Crisis Team’ who can be contacted via the app for support or positive reinforcement.
The sound execution of Kara’s idea was what ended up winning the competition for the duo. “I heard about Innovate Suffolk’s event through our CEO Andy Smith. When I saw the topic was mental health, I instantly wanted to participate and am so glad I did! Having lost my father to suicide and struggling with Bipolar Disorder myself, I have always been passionate about the cause and had an idea and figured ‘why not’? The worst that could happen is nobody joins me in what I’d like to call the “Stress Buddy Movement”. Luckily, Shaun connected to my initial pitch and joined me. Now, after just a 48-hour event, Stress Buddy may become a real app that can make a real difference in the lives of other people.”
“What attracted me to Kara’s idea was that I saw it as something I could get behind. It struck me as a very direct way to help people when they need it the most, hopefully having a big impact on their wellbeing and day to day lives” said Shaun. “The event was an amazing way to stress test ideas and help build potentially viable startups quickly, which genuinely have a chance to make a difference.”
“I am pleased that the first Innovate Suffolk Challenge for mental health was so successful and that Shaun of Coderus and Kara of StrategiQ, have come together to make the winning pitch. Coderus are pleased to be supporting ‘Stress Buddy’, throughout the whole process.” Mark, CEO at Coderus.
StrategiQ would like to say a big thanks to the organisers at Innovate Suffolk for organising the event and Coderus for their participation.
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