Serge Masyn is a Director at Johnson and Johnson, where he has been working for almost 20 years, being his current focus the design and implementation of positive identification methodologies of vaccines. Serge believes in collaboration with other organisations as a key factor to achieve improvements in public health.
About Serge and his experience organising the Dengue Hack
Serge explained to us how viral diseases like dengue pose higher risks than in the past. The evolution in factors like climate change, migration and movement of goods has contributed to the spread of viral diseases like dengue. Due to the global warming, there are more warm zones where the mosquito can lay its eggs. Derived from mobility, when there was a dengue outbreak in Madeira, the disease soon reached Portugal, as there is constant number of people traveling between the 2 countries. The transportation between continents of goods like tyres (which may contain mosquito’s eggs) increases the possibility that dengue can appear in new regions.
Due to these circumstances, the WHO forecasts that a 50% of the world population is subject to contract it. Hence, it is crucial to monitor the channels in which it is spread and to forecast the outbreaks location and magnitude. This can only be achieved with an analysis of broad and detailed sets of epidemiological, weather, movement of people, movement of tyres, construction sites data. And that is when the idea of a hackathon popped into scene, and Serge got in touch with Philippe, from the Data Innovation Hub, to organise it.
While Serge’s main objective was to crowdsource a solution, he soon realise that the benefits of a hackathon were beyond that. Besides putting together creative minds pooling different approaches to predict dengue outbreaks, it also allowed expanding the company’s network, working with innovative software, and raising awareness on both public health and on the importance of dengue.
Serge wrapped up our interview with the reflection that organising a hackathon brings diversity in perspectives… and that yes, he is open to repeat the experience!.
Our favorite phrase from Serge’s presentation
“Think out of the box, by thinking out of the box”
We look forward to see that, same as Serge, many other companies realise the benefit of organising hackathons!
Serge’s presentation recording:
[To be uploaded asap]
Serge’s presentation drawing: