Mar 18, 2020 / merit

Following the example of tiny but fierce Estonia in fighting the coronavirus

Together with Accelerate Estonia and with the big help from the community people, we put together an online hackathon to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic crisis and emerge from the crisis stronger than ever.

While the organizing team had only 6 hours to put the event up and running, the 1000+ people from 14 different timezones and 20 countries used the Garage48 bulletproof method of hacking for 48 hours straight. The results were amazing: 30 teams presented their working products on Sunday with a prerecorded pitch over a webinar. Read more about all the products and the winners.


We’ve been super happy to see that our initiative has sparked a huge number of followings in other countries around the world as well. We might be a small country, but our community is strong. People from different sectors have come together to relieve the problems we are facing due to COVID-19.


Viljar Lubi, the idea author of Accelerate Estonia and Deputy Secretary General for Economic Development said that it’s only a pleasure to see that this initiative wasn’t only important to our country but has taken its course to get international recognition in other countries as well. “Estonia is known to be a pioneer in innovative solutions and an online hackathon is living proof of how one digital nation can tackle the huge challenges its society faces. In difficult times it's easy to just sit and do nothing. We always have two options: remain seated when the ground is burning or start searching for solutions. We chose the last option!”


As a result of this hackathon, local community initiatives started popping up all around the world under the hashtag of #hackthecrisis. India, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Poland, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Canada, the United Kingdom, and others have followed our lead and joined forces to prevent the further spread and impact of the coronavirus. 


We at Garage48 and Accelerate Estonia have confirmed our willingness to share our experience with other countries looking to organize a similar online hackathon and this is why we have created the Hack the Crisis Global Community landing page to centralize all the local events and offer support for all the new organizers. 


PS! Don’t forget to read an article by Robert C. Wolcott in Forbes about the lessons from Estonia’s coronavirus crisis response.

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