REHACARE.com talked to Cinderella Glücklich, project assistant in the HelpCamps core team about the specific event concepts and their advantages.
Ms. Glücklich, what are the short-term and long-term objectives of the HelpCamps project?
Cinderella Glücklich: HelpCamps is a project that is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its "Innovationsforen Mittelstand" (English: Innovation Forums for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises) Initiative. With this in mind, we want to connect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the assistive technology industry with scientific institutions to enable SMEs to take greater advantage of their innovation potential – yet we take this a step further by asserting that this goal is unattainable without the input of those people who are using or implementing these resources later on. They have to be an integral part of the innovation process right from the start to ensure the creation of a truly functional, personalized assistive device and resource.
We tap the maker movement to encourage an extra dose of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking in terms of open innovation, novel production materials and technologies for example. Ultimately, the goal of having all focus groups shape the innovation process together and on an equal footing is to create a coworking network that will make it easier to produce assistive technology tools in a more affordable, faster and especially more personalized fashion than was previously the case.
The project consists of partner meetings, a BarCamp and an Innovation Forum. What are the advantages of each of these events?
Glücklich: These events are as multifaceted and unique as the individual focus groups that are a part of HelpCamps. The partner meetings tend to be aimed at SMEs in the assistive technology sector and scientific institutions. These meetings are designed to promote an open innovation culture. Participants are encouraged to network and get to know each other to conceivably develop joint collaborations or even business partnerships down the road.
The HelpCamps BarCamp, which takes place on December 9, 2017, at the Federal Academy of Orthopedic Technology in Dortmund (Bundesfachschule für Orthopädie-Technik in Dortmund) addresses the needs of assistive technology users, meaning people with disabilities, nursing staff, assistants or family caregivers and therapists. By communicating with the affected stakeholders cooperatively and on an equal footing, we try to identify the present challenges in assistive technology provision.
Meanwhile, the Innovation Forum takes all this a step further. In this venue, our goal is to tackle the problems that were depicted during the BarCamp and deliver actual solutions within two days. For example, participants aim at a new collaboration to find a specific solution, stakeholders jointly outline a business idea or development teams build the prototype of a customized assistive device.