February 5th, 2016
Winter Storm Jonas paralyzed much of the East Coast of the U.S. on the weekend of January 22nd. But there was an even bigger blizzard taking place at the Penn campus that weekend: a blizzard of ideas.
The PennApps XIII Hackathon is the nation’s first student run college hackathon, and this year it included approximately 1200 participants from 133 colleges, 31 states, and 13 countries. These students came together for a marathon weekend to compete, ideate and exercise a vast array of technical skills. Our R&D Digital Solutions team at Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Companies (JJDCC) was proud to be the lead sponsor of the healthcare track. Now to be clear, a “hackathon” refers to the good kind of hacking, not the malicious kind. In this context, hacking means coming up with rapid, clever and even unexpected solutions to important challenges.
So, why is a diabetes company sponsoring a college hackathon? It’s part of our R&D effort to stimulate innovation by tapping into top academic institutions and their on-campus innovation efforts. Hackathons provide an opportunity for our team members to gain exposure to new ideas, creative thinking from young minds, and lead us to think about our toughest challenges in new ways. In the process, our team of engineers also gets to build critical mentoring skills as they help the students understand more about diabetes, and the technologies we use to build digital solutions for managing it.