Seneca HELIX’s Summer Institute Design Jam develops solutions for the healthcare sector

Chris Dudley

October 10, 2019

Today, employers across sectors consistently stress the need for strong critical-thinking, communications and problem-solving skills among prospective employees.

The Seneca HELIX‘s Summer Institute helps participants develop these skills, and prepares them to be flexible and adapt to the ever-changing world of work.

This 10-day intensive “design jam” takes place annually in August.  The HELIX Summer Institute is like a mini think-tank; a space to collaborate and build solutions to pressing social or business challenges. It invokes the participation of students, entrepreneurs, designers, creative thinkers and the public community. Participants are encouraged to think creatively, try new solutions and iterate based on feedback from real customers.

This year, the HELIX Summer Institute focused on improving access to community resources for clients of the HOPE Initiative, a model of holistic community care created in partnership by MSH and SE Health that leverages emerging technologies such as cloud computing. Participants traveled to different locations including:  Seneca’s King Campus, Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH), SE Health and ventureLAB.

The innovative pitches – based on research that included interviews with healthcare professionals at both MSH and SE Health – reflected the unique perspectives that were made possible by the diversity of the participants, who hailed from a wide range of professional, academic and cultural backgrounds.

This year’s winning pitch went to the group, Beyond 4.  The group won the audience over through their mobile app prototype, which allowed information to flow seamlessly between a patient’s smartphone and a healthcare provider’s database, while giving the healthcare provider the ability to strategically allocate resources by digitally triaging incoming requests.

“Whether participants want to be an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, the entrepreneurial mindset developed at the HELIX Summer Institute is critical to every business or enterprise,” said Chris Dudley, director of entrepreneurship at Seneca.

Since 2017, the HELIX Summer Institute has engaged 102 participants supported by  58 mentors and presenters, 35 healthcare staff, patients and supporters.  This years partners included: Markham Stouffville Hospital, SE Health, York Region, City of Markham, and ventureLAB.

What participants had to say:

“Safe, inclusive, immersive, respectful and supportive experience with access to top business professionals and coaches all working on solutions for a complex real life business problem that touches all of our lives.”

“It was simply awesome. Meeting with passionate mentors, working with diverse participants and learning lessons from world class leaders. This is the best platform for an entrepreneur to start with and employee to understand how the system works”

Learn more by visiting Seneca HELIX or reading the Canadian Healthcare Technology article about the initiative –


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