Innovation coupled with new technological solution contributes significantly to the advancement of socioeconomic development and leads to a transformational impact in responding to critical developmental needs, particularly at the time of crises. This entails effective cooperation between public and private institutions to synergises the response to crucial challenges. “Kuwait Hacks the Crises” Hackathon reflects our aspiration to foster the engagement of private sector as a development partner, not only to diversify the economy but also to tackle the rapidly emerging challenges in these difficult times. We are looking forward to the successful outcome of the Hackathon and we encourage all creative ideas that will help us to adapt to the new normal and strengthen Kuwait’s resilience.
This Hackathon comes at a time when COVID-19 is challenging us in multidimensional socioeconomic aspects of our lives. The way we work, study and interact with each other have dramatically changed during the past two months alone, and perhaps, will continue to have implications on our work, thinking processes and businesses plans, even after the virus finally fades away from Kuwait and the rest of the world. In 2016, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled “Hackathons aren't just for coders,” citing examples of successful enterprises that used hackathons not only as a way to identity winning ideas but also a means to instill a corporate culture of fostering solution-oriented thinking and innovation. In this hackathon “Kuwait hacks the crisis,” Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will be asked to come up with innovative ideas to overcome two issues facing our society today – overcoming supply chain vulnerabilities; and ensuring health care services. UNDP benefitted from the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development’s (GSSCPD) insights on these two challenges, which are focused, relevant and forward-thinking. These challenges are not just issues to be tackled by the public sector alone, but the areas where SMEs can offer solutions and excel. In this holy month of Ramadan, our hackathon virtual venue would probably look like a microcosm of research and development rooms of companies -- invigorated, fast-forwarding and non-hierarchical multidirectional exchanges of ideas occurring in the span of intensive five days. During this hackathon, a team of coaches will facilitate to inspire each other within and between participating SME teams, because the notion of hackathon does not go well with a zero-sum principle, but rather creating better ideas by sharing, which I would call the “race to excellence.”