Open Geneva, actor of the European Union hackathon EUvsVirus

From 24 to 26 April, some 20,900 people participated in an online hackathon. Initiated by a German company and a small team from the European Innovation Council, the event was made possible by 380 volunteers, who set up the event in less than a month.

The aim was to continue the projects carried out during regional covid hackathons, or to propose new ones. Participants were invited to work on one of the 39 proposed challenges, by forming a team via a discussion software (5000 channels created), and by submitting their proposal on a dedicated website. In total, 2150 projects were submitted.

Swiss participation

For Switzerland, 319 people participated in the event, as well as three ambassadors:

  • Didier Pittet, Director of the Infection Control Programme at the University Hospitals of Geneva and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety
  • Pierre-Yves Maillard, National Councillor, President of the Swiss Union of Trade Unions, former Head of the Department of Health and Social Action of the Canton of Vaud
  • Martina Hirayama, State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation

At the level of the Swiss organisation, Fabio Balli, member of Open Geneva, and Petra Arends-Paltzer ensured the coordination, with the participation of Peter Broennimann from SEFRI.

At the global level, Martin Burr (artist ambassador), Emmanuel Kellner (associate project manager) and Fabio Balli (project manager) coordinated the civil society group. In particular, the group created a guide to encourage participants and non-profit organisations to collaborate during and after the event, and to increase their societal impact.

107 Swiss non-profit organisations were invited to participate, and four, including Open Geneva, registered. For the corporate group, PME One Technologies Sàrl provided 50 pro bono team profiles.

Swiss projects

Open source projects

Other award-winning projects

There were no awards in the digital finance and other categories

Other projects

Upcoming events

At the end of the event, 117 project teams were invited by a jury to participate in a second event organised by the European Union from 22 to 25 May, which will link them with companies, investors, authorities and universities.

Members of the civil society group are also self-organising to support non-profit teams and organisations beyond the winners. One of the objectives is to organise an event to ensure that a minimum of projects (respirator, comfortable visor, disinfectant dispenser) can be freely reproduced around the world. This event will take place in the framework of the partnership between Open Geneva and the Geneva Health Forum.

Another group is also preparing a third event to help start-ups redefine their strategy in the face of the pandemic.

A unique Innovation Festival in Pechakucha format

On Thursday 26 November, Open Geneva invited its community of innovators, innovators, partners and all those who have participated in the Autumn of Innovation events - or simply curious! - to come together to celebrate open innovation!
Despite the current situation and the many difficulties we have had to face, the spirit of innovation is still there and we wanted to honour it during this 100% online evening!

This evening was the first collaboration with the PechaKucha Geneva association. The principle of this evening? Discover 6 speakers on 6 different themes through pictorial and rhythmic presentations. Gone are the slides, replaced by life stories, ideas, projects, thoughts and passions in the Pecha Kucha presentation format, from the Japanese ペチャクチャ "chatter", offering 20 images presented in 20 seconds each.

During our evening "No confinement for open innovation: stories from those who make innovation happen in Geneva", we gave the floor to Cecilia Serin, Patrick Geeraert, Caroline Boutillon-Duflot, Giordano Neuenschwander, Alexander Barclay and Julia Dallest who shared their ideas on various topics such as the integration of refugees, the role of the state in times of crisis, sustainable finance, science or resilience.

"Thank you for this exciting, inspiring and inspiring moment of sharing"
Relive these stories by clicking here

"Sustainable Finance Hack, Open Geneva's first 100% online international hackathon

On 13 and 14 November, Open Geneva organised the 2nd edition of the Sustainable Finance Hackathon, 100% online, supported by the Canton State of Geneva and in collaboration with the Geneva School of Economics and Management (GSEM) of the University of Geneva and the Career Centre of the University of Geneva.

130 international participants from Colombia, Ghana, Brazil, Poland, the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland... took part in 24 hours of co-creation around 15 projects on sustainable finance. To discover these innovative projects, go to

This hackathon was a turning point for Open Geneva on three levels:

  1. We have created bridges between the academic world and the business world, between the business world and international organisations. Our desire to use hackathons as career development tools resonated with the Geneva School of Economics and Management and the UNIGE Career Centre. We trained a first team of students to organise a hackathon.
  2. This hackathon was an opportunity for Open Geneva to experiment the hackathon as a training place, a place to learn digital and soft-skills for the participants. Thematic workshops, such as learning how to use design tools and mobile app creation, were offered to participants throughout the hackathon. We are convinced that digital literacy has to be learned and that hackathons are the right place to do it.
  3. This hackathon was our first international experience. A very enriching experience for the participants and proof that online events open the door to new opportunities for collaboration, sharing and open innovation!

Romain Zappella, Private Partnerships & Philanthropy Specialist, for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) participated for the first time in a hackathon, read his testimony:

"For us, this hackathon has obviously allowed us to address a different audience than the one we are used to talking to, to be more accessible, but also and above all to benefit from the point of view and ideas of specialists in the field. In a constantly changing world, the ICRC strives to anticipate new trends. More personally, I must admit that after these 24 hours, I am convinced and admiring the experience of the hackathon; bringing together a group of remarkable people with diverse intellectual and practical skills, and the methodology of working with collective interactive tools. In these uncertain times, I am quite excited to see how a group of people, who do not know each other, can exchange and smoothly agree on common goals, in a friendly environment of mutual learning while having fun."

The Autumn of Innovation, a new highlight of open innovation in Geneva

Resilience goes hand in hand with opportunity

The cancellation of the Open Geneva festival in March 2020 was an opportunity to rethink the operationalisation of our mission, the effectiveness of our tools and processes, and our role in this crisis as a promoter of open innovation.
Open Geneva reacted very quickly by launching the Crisis Innovation and Resilience Fund with the Canton of Geneva, the University of Geneva and the HES-SO Geneva in June 2020. This resilience experiment has been a source of learning and the ground for new experiments. We have implemented new processes, developed new digital tools and strengthened our partnerships. 

Autumn of Innovation: warm-up for the March 2021 Innovation Festival

From 27 August to the end of November, Open Geneva invites you to explore, test and experiment with our tools and processes while innovating together in preparation for the 2021 Innovation Festival.

This new highlight of innovation in Geneva will be punctuated by numerous hackathons and events dealing with different themes, such as smart cities, sustainable finance, integration of refugees or global health. These events will allow hackathon and event organisers to test new formats, whether face-to-face (according to current health standards), online or hybrid, and to use new digital tools for their organisation.

The Open Geneva community of innovators will be able to experiment with these new event formats allowing everyone to test our tools and processes to accelerate their projects, network, and develop their skills in the post-covid-19 era.

Join us and add your event to the already rich autumn programme!

To facilitate the definition and promotion of events on the Autumn of Innovation programme, the same registration system as for the festival programme will be offered from 25 July. Each organiser will be able to create his or her event on the open geneva website and manage his or her information. There will be no deadline for announcing and registering an event for the autumn programme! 

Open Geneva will work on a communication dedicated to this new innovation highlight in Geneva in order to highlight those who continue to innovate with us!

The Crisis and Resilience Innovation Fund

Together with the Department of Economic Development of the Canton of Geneva and the University of Geneva, Open Geneva has launched a Crisis and Resilience Innovation Fund, an open innovation programme that combines funding and in-kind contributions.

The objective is to adapt to present and future challenges in an innovative and collective manner by developing disruptive projects aimed at meeting the economic challenges of the current pandemic. This new measure to help the Geneva economy is also intended to support the actors of international Geneva and the population as a whole. To date, more than 30 Geneva-based organisations have already committed to the fund. More than ever, the time has come to implement collective intelligence with agility, audacity and for the greatest number.

This crisis and resilience innovation fund has 3 stages:

1. Identification of challenges to be solved collectively 

Geneva companies and organisations are invited to express their economic issues and challenges in order to collect new ideas for projects to be developed.

2. The Geneva Resilience Hackathon 

The Geneva Resilience Hackathon will be held in mid-June and will have the mission of developing a dozen or so successful projects that address the issues expressed by Geneva businesses during the crisis. 

3. Crowdsupport campaigns

At the end of the hackathon, these projects will be able to test the commitment of future users by launching their own campaign for financial and in-kind support (skills, equipment, etc.), called a "crowdsupport campaign". These projects will be co-financed by the fund to the tune of CHF 2,500, in the first instance.

For moreinformation

EUvsVirus: Europe against covid-19!

On the weekend of 24-26 April, Open Geneva supported the European hackathon #euvsvirus promoted by the European Commission. Nearly 22,900 participants took part in the event!

The #VersusVirus hackathon experience in action

Thomas Maillart, president of the Open Geneva association, recounts his experience of the #VersusVirus Hackathon in articles published by our media partner

#Versusvirus, 48 hours against Covid-19!

Are you an artist, a biologist, a humanitarian, a geek, a social worker, a journalist, a nurse, an engineer, a developer, a pastor, a computer scientist, a student, a secretary, a designer?
Are you simply a citizen committed to developing solutions to combat and treat Covid-19?