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Positive energy

Positive energy

Hundreds of Capgemini employees around the world competed in the Tech4Positive Futures Challenge by proposing tech solutions to make a better future. Here, we look at the three winning teams.

Imagine an app for rural health workers that uses artificial intelligence to reduce maternal mortality rates. Or a tool that helps stroke survivors relearn speech and language. How about a solution that helps prevent primary-school children from going hungry?

Capgemini’s innovative colleagues have worked on how to make these tools a reality through its Tech4Positive Futures Challenge.

“To help reduce deaths caused by childbirth and pregnancy-related complications in India, the team proposed a digital mechanism for health workers based on AI and machine learning”

Tackling societal problems with tech

Launched in January this year, the initiative invited Capgemini colleagues around the world to apply their powers of innovation and technical knowledge to some of the problems facing society today. Moreover, Capgemini will provide the resources necessary to bring the winning ideas to life, delivering social impact at scale.

After months of preparation under COVID-19 restrictions, and with mentoring from senior business and technology leaders, the entrants were whittled down to 13 finalists. These teams came up with a range of projects, from fighting digital exclusion and violent crime, addressing water scarcity, to providing access to affordable medical assistance, and reducing carbon emissions.

Finally, three winners were chosen by the judging panel:

Team MAATR – Reducing maternal mortality in India

Team MAATR focused on addressing maternal mortality rates in India. According to UNICEF, 2017 saw 35,000 mothers lost to pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, with many of these deaths being avoidable with the right information and guidance. The team proposed a digital mechanism based on AI and machine learning to enable real-time data sharing, with the intention of helping rural health workers to intervene in time and save lives.

Saswat Mohapatra, managing consultant, who contributed the technical architecture and costing model, explained that he had a very personal reason for getting involved. “Having experienced a pre-term delivery, I can completely relate to the problems associated with pregnancy, and these are amplified in a rural Indian setting. This is what we wanted to address with our app.”

Team SpeechFirst – Helping stroke survivors relearn speech

The next winner was a UK team that designed a solution to help stroke survivors continue their speech and language therapy at home. Globally, 50 million people suffer a stroke every year, of whom around four million later require speech training. SpeechFirst is an accessible and economical alternative that uses AI to detect incorrect facial movements and pronunciation, providing real-time tips and recommendations for patients.

Holly Brown, associate consultant, who led the SpeechFirst team as a graduate, highlighted the support they received from other areas of the business, particularly the team from Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange. “It’s been a real collaborative effort,” she said. “Tech4Positive Futures is such a great initiative and highlights what our expertise as a business can achieve to address these societal issues.”

Team Zero Hunger in Schools – Preventing hunger among school children

The final winner was the Zero Hunger in Schools team, from Australia. According to the World Food Program, 66 million primary school-age children in developing countries go to school hungry every year. To address this problem, the team from Australia created Yum-Yum, an app and web-based platform driven by secure, cloud-based technology that uses machine learning algorithms and analytics to improve food supply and distribution to children.

One team member, associate consultant, Adithyan Natarajan, confirmed that the hard work, which involved weekend and late-night sessions, was worth it. “As a team, we all inherently understood that a hungry child can’t focus, can’t learn, and can’t be who they want to be,” he said. “Sometimes all it takes is a simple meal to unlock a world of possibilities.”

Committing to social development

Capgemini Group CEO, Aiman Ezzat, explains that the company is committed to applying its collective technology and innovation expertise for sustainable and social development.

“We have seen this in action more than ever in 2020, from the outputs of our Social Response Unit to help communities during the COVID-19 crisis, through to the inspiring solutions that were created during our Tech4Positive Futures Challenge,” he said. “I am really looking forward to seeing each of the winning teams’ solutions come to life to deliver real societal impact at scale.”

We will be sharing their progress over the coming months.