December 6, 2020
STORIES CORNER: Winners of the NewStart Challenge

Winners of the NewStart Challenge

New Start set itself for quite a challenge: To find solutions to tackle the negative consequences brought by government restriction, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. It was April when Sustainary and Siemens Gamesa got together to set a program in motion to map solutions for the isolation and social challenges brought by Covid-19 pandemic restrictions to the elderly group’s life. Our citizen-driven innovation camp ran for one week in November and the winner was Team JDC, short for the very appropriate name “Joy Despite Corona”. 

JDC includes innovative entrepreneurs; Remus Gabriel Bejinaru, Andreea Dinu, Lina Dubina and Mihai Obreja, they’re all residents in Aarhus and Vejle. Remus explains the name and motives behind their participation:  “Our team ambition and goal is actually written in the JDC name (Joy Despite Corona), as such, we want to help elderly people and those in high-risk groups feel more included and useful in their own community and society. We want to eliminate loneliness and to bring joy and happiness to everyone. 

The team created a modular program that invites the entire community to participate offline or online in social activities. The program wants to create a safe, healthy and inclusive community, enabling elderly and those affected by Covid-19 to continue being active and regaining their purpose while being home. 

Lina says “with our proposed solution, we want to help to overcome the challenge of being socially isolated and to make it easier and more accessible for elderly people and those in need to feel included and be part of society”. The Socially Isolated Social App or “SIS” is an activity bank that helps bring the idea of connecting without being together into reality, matched with an offline platform that creates engagement activities in communal houses, patient treatment centres and a hot-line, keeping safety as the number one priority. 

The idea came as part of the New Start Challenge, thinking of the Aarhus municipality as the centre, but it can easily be scaled-up to a nation-wide project that can target other groups as well. Mihai adds “With a frame for the project, a brief session of brainstorming and ambition, we managed to deliver a concept that has the potential to scale and improve people’s everyday lives.”
Because of this, we recognize the JDC solution as an innovative approach to the problem! We are looking forward to seeing this idea be brought into motion and create a positive change in our society!
Thank you to all the participants and partners of New Start, and special thanks to Siemens Gamesa and Joy Despite Corona.

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