Innovation Lab and Equity Hackathon

Launched this Spring, The Lab gathers leaders from across non-profit, government, and business sectors who act on the micro, meso, and macro levels to advance equity in the Pittsburgh region. These leaders will form five teams focusing on the Social Determinants of Health and will engage in teambuilding and the creation of an innovative “hack” to present at a Pitch-a-Thon Contest for a cash prize and recognition at the GPNP Summit.

The Innovation Lab seeks to tackle existing challenges and advance equity in Southwestern Pennsylvania in teams made of other community members, non-profit, business and government leaders, focusing on:

  • Education,
  • Health Care Quality and Access,
  • Economic Stability,
  • Social and Community Context,
  • and Neighborhood and Built Environment

Grow, learn, and evolve, together

Each team will meet for eight sessions, beginning with an orientation that will outline the process, the frameworks to be used for the hackathon: Cantril’s ladder, assistive technology, anti-racist practices, Kurzin’s community healing, and intellectual property/data sovereignty. Orientation will allow participants to get to know each other, and become familiar with the tools that will be used throughout the Lab.

Following orientation, each team will engage in symbiosis-building sessions. Each participant will conduct a miniature “Ted Talk,” sharing with their team a just practice or other area where they or their organization excels that could have useful applicability to their cohort members. Subsequently, each member will share a challenge that their organization faces, or an area where they could use assistance. The team will brainstorm and strategize around solutions or different approaches around (through, or over) each other’s presented obstacle.

Having innovated in their own organizations, each team is now ready to work on solutions and innovations for the region around their chosen determinant. Each team will select discrete problems that create or perpetuate inequities within their determinant and will embark on an equity hackathon to develop a solution, utilizing their member organizations. Solutions could involve designing new and improved programming, partnerships, systems shift, policy recommendations or any number of forms, and will be fleshed out during the hackathon.

Each team will select their best hack and prepare, with assistance, to pitch their solution at the culminating event of the Innovation Lab, the Pitch Contest. This in-person/virtual hybrid event will be attended by foundation staff, sponsors, potential partners, and the public. A cash prize will be awarded to the winning team as either an implementation or planning grant, depending on which option best fits the winning proposal. The winning team will also present at the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s Summit on October 13-15, 2021.

All participants in The Innovation Lab and Equity Hackathon will receive Innovation Lab badges through the The Forbes Funds University.

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