Digital Innovation Cannes Drive Change For Good: Our Recap Of The Cannes Lions Hackathon

We’re back from Cannes Lions - the world’s biggest festival for creativity - where we participated in last week’s “Change For Good” hackathon hosted by our partners Amazon and AWS, along with Huge and advocacy platform Global Citizen. While we were sad to leave the beautiful scenery behind, we’re eager to share our recap of the event.

During the hackathon, teams were tasked with building solutions that change the world for the better by furthering six impactful Global Citizen Campaigns: No Poverty, Food & Hunger, Health, Education, Gender Equality, and Clean Water & Sanitation. We took on Health as our cause, focusing our solution around water-borne diseases.

The World Health Organization states that, every year, more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water-related diseases, which cause 4 out of 5 illnesses in developing countries. These staggering statistics left us with a question: How can we inform people in these areas, who often can’t read or write, about the current - and even future - condition of their water sources?

In response, we proposed Project Poseidon, a cloud-based, connected system of sensors that would allow people to learn about the quality of the water around them through a simple phone call. With just one call, people could find out which water sources are drinkable and take tips for making water potable.  

The ever-growing network of smart buoys that we envisioned would be equipped with ultra low-power water sensors, all running serverless on AWS for scalability. The platform would also connect to an app that had many capabilities, including a visual guide in the form of a map and the ability to select your favorite water sources and receive updates on their condition. As the system continued to collect data, it would turn into a powerful predictive tool, not only allowing locals to stay informed but also guiding governments in targeting their interventions.

Beyond reducing illness from water-related diseases, the solution would have significant benefits on the economy. We estimate that it would lead to a 4.3 return on every dollar spent by lowering associated healthcare costs and increasing the productivity of those who currently suffer.

While our idea ultimately didn’t win, it’s clear that the event was about so much more than taking home a trophy. It was about creating innovation that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of others, a mission that we work to stand behind each and every day.

And finally, a big congrats to the other participants and winning team. It was inspiring to compete alongside you.

Check out our video below for a behind the scenes look.