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The AHA Centre recently held the AHAckathon Competition, where several teams from different countries worked on developing a mobile app to find solutions in disaster management. The exciting three-day event would not have been possible without the help of partners like launchlabs.

Innovation consultant Tobias Wosowiecki explained what launchlabs is all about. “What launchlabs is doing is all around innovation and also around cultural change. The world is becoming more and more complex. We are helping clients and organisations act like successful start-ups, which means they are really agile and flexible as they are changing the culture. And how they are changing their solutions, like when they are getting information from end-users. We are doing that with the approach of agile frameworks, like design thinking, scrum, lean start-up.”

For this approach, launchlabs has three pillars. “The first pillar is called learninglabs, where the teams will learn to understand and apply methods for human-centered and agile innovation development, enabling them to develop new products, services or business models that their customers really need in a playful and risk-free manner” said Tobias, or Toby to his friends and colleagues.

The second pillar is called projectlabs, where clients change the way they approach complex strategic and innovation project without a clear solution path. Launchlabs facilitates and enables the entire innovation process as experts for agile work from the first planning session all the way to implementation. “We are helping people to create their own ideas. This is our main work.

And with that we are using different kinds of frameworks, like what we did with the AHAckathon. At the end of a specific time, we come up with prototypes that we can test and implement in the system,” he said.

The third pillar is called culturelabs, which is all about building a sustainable agile corporate culture. “The culture needs to grow and change sometimes. We are helping our clients create and design agile work environments. Especially now that we’re going through a pandemic. We’re creating virtual working environments. All of that means change. In this kind of field, we become more like coaches. And all of this needs communication. That is the underlying theme of these three pillars.”

Launchlabs partnered with the AHA Centre for the HELiX AHAckathon Competition. The challenge of using technology to find solutions for disaster management was posed to students from different countries of the ASEAN region. “Before you can start a hackathon, you need a problem. This is what we created together with the AHA Centre. We created six different challenges that teams could choose from. We needed to find the right problems. Part of the pre-work was to find the right problems and frame challenges. So it’s easier to understand what the problem is, try to solve it as well, and who are the users inside it,” Toby explained.

Students from the different countries of the ASEAN region joined the three-day competition, forming teams and collaborating among themselves in coming up with the best app to solve disaster-management issues. The teams showcased past disasters in their respective countries and the solutions they came up with in the areas of logistics, emergency response, coordination and communication.

“All the teams focused on the users. That was what we tried to achieve. In this context, when we are trying to solve problems, we are not solving it for ourselves, but for other people. We are trying to understand the situation. They designed the platform but never really lost their focus on the end user.”

Being part-Indonesian, Toby understood the cultural aspects of handling, mentoring and coaching teams for the AHAckathon. “We should not lose the connection with people when looking for solutions. With my experience, when it comes to collaboration, the Asian culture is supporting it. Asia has a strong culture of working together,” he said.

“The AHA Centre does really important work. I have learned many things about disasters through this partnership. We have a better understanding of how to solve them. I think that Germany could have handled the recent disaster in a better way, which is mainly due to the fact that we are not so experienced with such disasters” said Toby, recalling the July 2021 floods that inundated parts of Germany. He notes that in Asian countries, people come together, help each other and collaborate during disasters. “I think this collaboration can really help us, especially the European collaboration with the AHA Centre. We have much to learn from Asian countries.”

“Collaboration is all that you need, collaboration is the main thing you do to provide the help. The main goal is to get the help to affected areas fast.” On his views of the role of technology in disaster management, “Technology is definitely helping us organise ourselves. But what I also believe is that we should not lose focus on people affected by these disasters, not lose the personal connection. This is the challenge we have to tackle with integrating technology more. Technology solves problems, but the people who are affected in flooded areas, they still need that human contact,” he added.


Written by : Judith Garcia Meese | Photo Credit : AHA Centre and Launchlabs