Zain’s Virtual Assistive technologies Hackathon

24 Jun 2020

A 4-day virtual hackathon revolving around assistive technologies for people with disabilities that Zain hosted.

Zain’s disability inclusion initiative, WE ABLE, has been focusing on making all Zain operations more disability-inclusive by the year 2022. One way it is trying to do this is by aligning with WE ABLE’s pillars 5 and 6 which are inclusive accessibility and increasing the affordability and availability of assistive technologies. Therefore, WE ABLE collaborated with ZAINIAC, Zain’s internal innovation platform, and partnered with Project Nitrous, experts in building assistive technologies, to host a virtual hackathon focusing on assistive technologies for people with disabilities. The campaign has focused on assistive technology-related ideas, all Zain employees had the chance of submitting their ideas to the platform. More than 90 ideas were submitted to the platform. There were 23 participants with and without disabilities from Zain Jordan, Zain Iraq, Zain Kuwait, and Zain Sudan that were chosen to move forward with their ideas.

The virtual hackathon was conducted through Microsoft Teams. Over a period of 4 days, the 23 innovators spent time working on design thinking, learning the importance of empathy, and ideation. They were taught to problem solve, and how to know if their ideas are feasible, desirable, and scalable. On the last day, after an intense 4 days of learning and working on their ideas, the innovators had to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Four winners were then chosen to move forward into the mentorship phase that will lead to a prototype of their ideas and possible funding/investment. The winners were from Zain Kuwait, Zain Iraq, two from Zain Jordan.

With this hackathon, the objective was not only to attain ideas on assistive technologies to implement and have come to life but to add value to people with disabilities lives at work. But also, to raise awareness among all Zain operations and all those who participated in the hackathon.