Our gift to you in these challenging times: Open and Free for Insurers, Reinsurers, Brokers, Insurance-Related Startups and Vendors, and Students.
The wrap up event will be live from 1 PM to 2:30 PM EDT
This event will be open to the industry and all participants, as the top teams present their video pitches and participate in a live Q&A session. Our esteemed panel of judges will ask final questions about the solutions, before making the determinations and announcing the winners.
2-day online hackathon + industry wrap up event
Facilitated following Design Thinking methodology in breakout sessions
StudentHack period: Thursday, April 29 and Friday, April 30, 2021
The 2-day period will be held in EDT, from 9 AM to 5 PM
Industry Wrap Up Event: Monday, May 3rd from 1 PM to 2:30 PM EDT
The topic of attracting and retaining young talent to the insurance industry has been around for years — in fact, we even ran a project on it last year. In the past, many insurers would turn to campus events (such as career fairs) to find the leaders of tomorrow. However, this search has become more difficult in a virtual world, full of technological distractions and disconnect. In the case of insurance, an industry that is seen as old-fashioned and traditional, the challenge of engaging young talent has only increased tenfold.
In a virtual world where human beings have been reduced to images on a screen, how can one truly connect with the right person for the job?
At Cookhouse Labs, we’re all about human-centered design and connection. That’s why this week we’re excited to offer our top 3 tips to help you find young talent in a virtual world!
Tip #1: Check Out the Chat Section
You read that correct — we recommend attending external industry events to find engaged young professionals. For example, a frequently overlooked area is the chat section of webinars, where young attendees often ask thoughtful questions. By reaching out to these attendees on LinkedIn for a virtual coffee chat, you can informally screen them and determine if they would be a great fit for your organization.
We spoke to several recruiters and found that all of them preferred passionate candidates, even if slightly underqualified. One of the best ways to assess this passion is through interaction, so we encourage you to put aside your stack of resumes and join a virtual industry event or two!
Tip #2: Discover Passion in the Pitch
The most passionate young professionals always find a way to stay involved with the global industry, even if they’re on another continent, through online projects and competitions. A virtual world offers the opportunity to discover a future leader in a whole different country, sans travel expenses. This type of candidate can bring a fresh perspective and resources into your project team, which may currently consist entirely of local members.
If you’re wondering how to begin connecting with global young talent, you’re in luck! This Friday, we’re hosting our Young Talent 20/21 Final Pitch Event in collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences in Wurzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany. Our team of students has been working on a new way for Cookhouse Labs to innovate in a hybrid model with participants both in the physical lab space and joining us virtually. The team will be revealing their solution at the pitch event — click here to meet them and see their results!
Tip #3: Join Them in the Sandbox
How can you assess if a candidate will be a perfect fit for an upcoming project?
Easy — give it a try!
Many virtual events simulate the experience of working together on a project by connecting students to organizations and tasking them with solving a challenge. For example, at our upcoming SummerHack 2021, you will have access to our pool of passionate students and can invite candidates of interest to join your insurance team for the 2-day competition. By working together in this guided ideathon to tackle a real industry challenge, you will have the opportunity to see how your chosen candidates fit within your project team and assess their personalities and work styles.
To start forming your team and meeting young talent, click here!
So, there you have it — our top 3 tips to bridge the virtual gap and connect with global young talent. By making the extra effort to scout these young professionals, you’re likely to find the most passionate, thoughtful, and engaged candidates for your next project!
In the next part of our series, I had the pleasure to chat with Team Quantummy, winner of our Best Solution – Greater China Area prize and overall 2nd Place in our main SummerHack category. I chatted with Natasha Gibe, Derek Jones, and their Mentor Tommy Kim about the team’s two-time winning solution and how staying awake the whole 24 hours helped them develop their idea!
Natasha, Derek, and Tommy, thank you for joining us today and congratulations on winning in 2 major categories! Before we talk about the incredible experience and outcome, we’d love to know more about you.
Natasha: I live in Toronto and I work in contract software development. I have been in the industry for less than a year now — I actually transitioned from dentistry into software development!
Derek: I live in Toronto as well and work in software development. I work for a SaaS startup called Uberflip and I have been in the industry for over 7 years.
Tommy: I have been in the Property and Casualty insurance industry for almost in 8 years now, and am currently working as a Senior Actuarial Analyst at Munich Reinsurance.
Thank you for the intro! Tell us, what inspired you to join SummerHack 2020?
Natasha: We enjoyed the last hackathon we joined on Hackworks, and so I went on the platform and searched the upcoming hackathons they were supporting. I came across the IoT SummerHack 2020, and asked Derek if he wanted to join. Registrations were closing on the same night, so we signed up!
Looking at your double-win, that was definitely a good call! How did you prepare for the 24-hour event?
Derek: We didn’t prep too much, but we did try to learn about the insurance industry. We watched some YouTube videos and learned the basics of how insurance works and some common terms, like what an actuary is. There were all these things that we didn’t know about, and that was our prep. It wasn’t super extensive, it was learning the basics. We tried to learn about IoT trends as well.
Which of the three challenges did you choose, and why?
Natasha: We choose to tackle the small business challenge around how small businesses manage risks that they are exposed to. We related to this one the most, especially seeing small businesses in Toronto that were highly affected by COVID-19.
Could you walk us through the process of how you developed your solution?
Derek: Everything was remote, so the Zoom call was up and running. We had our webcams on all the time and collaborated with Tommy, which was really cool. We checked in with each other every hour or so. We talked about our workflow pretty early on; we decided to spend a lot of time understanding the problems that small businesses face, which would really be useful at the end of the day. We went ahead and discarded a lot of ideas through the first 12 hours, so we really only started solidifying and forming a more developed solution around midnight. We ended up staying awake the whole 24 hours to get to the final product — I don’t think we had any naps!
Tommy: Most of the focus was placed on empathy. Team Quantummy was more practical and realistic rather than visionary. We really understood the pain points of the small business owners, and we tried to simulate that and research to get to the exact point that we were heading to. At the end of the 24 hours, it was very effective. Our team was very confident and we were able to achieve that delivery.
On that note, tell us about how your mentor supported you throughout the journey.
Natasha: Tommy was on the Zoom call basically the whole time. He had such high energy the entire time, and he even stayed up the entire 24 hours! He taught us a lot about how the industry works and shared some links to studies and data that helped support our solution. He was a really great guide for us.
Tommy: Well, thank you!
It’s really great to hear about the collaboration and commitment within your team! It definitely paid off, because your solution was clearly a crowd favorite. Could you explain the concept of your solution for us?
Derek: The specific problem that we zoomed in on was that small businesses are very exposed to risks within their supply chains. Supply chains can get pretty complicated, and most small business owners are not experts at evaluating risk. Our solution was to create a certification program and an application that would end up creating a database of suppliers that are following industry best practices and risk prevention. Essentially, it would be a database of really low risk suppliers. Primarily, it focused on ensuring that suppliers are leveraging internet of things technology, so IoT tech. It had really shown to improve delivery, and would prevent destruction in manufacturing delivery, so we have a database of those suppliers. Small businesses could partner with those suppliers so that small businesses can build a reliable supply chain without having to analyze and understand all those risks.
Your solution won two prizes; it came 2nd in the main prize category and also won the Best Solution – Greater China Area special prize. How does it feel to have such a big win?
Natasha: We were surprised the first time we won; the first time our team name was announced, we thought, “Really?”. Then, for the second category, we were even more surprised, because a lot of the teams had awesome solutions, so we weren’t really expecting it. We were happy to hear that the solution resonated with them, and that the challenges really resonated with real life challenges and the problem that small business owners were facing. Throughout the event, we were trying to understand small businesses and the industry.
Tommy: It’s wonderful to see all the passion and hard work from Team Quantummy! Natasha showed the humble side of it, but I have to show another side. I would say that we were capable of it, because as we were dealing with all the different criteria, and the solution effectively met them and was very solid from my perspective. And at the end, yes, I really enjoyed hearing Quantummy announced as winners, and two times in a row, as well.
Team Quantummy, in your opinion, what made you so successful?
Derek: I think there were a couple of things. We definitely benefited from having a mentor who we could bounce ideas off of; that definitely helps the creative process and got rid of the uncertainty that we would have had on how feasible our ideas were. The second thing that I would say is that we decided to focus on understanding the domain. We wanted to understand the industry, IoT and technology, and see how those trending things are currently fitting into the industry. It’s amazing to see what is already in place! We were shocked to see all these devices and technologies that were already out there, and so that helped improve our understanding and it became feasible, helping us decide which ideas worked and which didn’t
Tommy: I would say the collaboration, firstly. I think we acknowledge our current knowledge and also tried to learn from each other too. Even though my title is as a Mentor to a wonderful team, I learned a lot more than I expected, so I think it was a great journey for myself. The second point is that we weren’t afraid to get knocked out in innovation. Sometimes innovation and creativity can be really hefty and a powerful word, and at the same time if we try to connect more dots, we can embrace our creativity and can propose more creative solutions.
How would you describe your overall experience at the hackathon?
Natasha: We had a really great time, overall. It was really tiring! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to branch out and learn something new. Staying up for 24 hours is something I don’t recommend doing often, but in this case it was a really rewarding.
Tommy: The experience itself was very enjoyable. I actually worked hard myself during those 24 hours, and we had some very creative ideas too. There were some very innovative solutions proposed too that really made us laugh over the 24-hour journey!
WinterHack 2020 is coming up in November, and as a winning team, we want to know: What advice would you give incoming teams for our upcoming hackathon?
Derek: Keep in mind that from the very start, the main output of everything has to fit into a very short pitch. When you’re pitching, time can go way faster than you expect, so from the very beginning keep in mind that it has to fit into 3 minutes. Make time for a few practice runs so that you make sure you don’t spend all that energy developing the solution and you run out of time before you even get the idea across. We have seen that happen with other teams in various other hackathons before ourselves.
Tommy: Please enjoy the challenge, please enjoy the discussion, and please enjoy the creative ideas that you can come up with after squeezing your brain over 24 hours!
Our mission at Cookhouse Labs is to #MakeInsuranceBetter for the overall industry, and our events are part of our journey. In your opinion, how can events such as SummerHack 2020 help us achieve this?
Natasha: There were so many smart people participating in the hackathon, so events like this can provide a great opportunity to problem solvers that don’t work in the industry. We can still contribute a lot in terms of problem-solving, knowledge, or technology from other domains. I think that getting fresh eyes for the problem will really bring innovative solutions to the surface.
Tommy: Sticking to the hashtag of making insurance better, the term ‘better’ is relative to the previous. Through this hackathon at Cookhouse Labs, we are already ahead of the game to welcoming a new face of innovation. And one day, we will hear positive feedback from policy holders, where insurance is no longer a necessary evil, but instead an angel that can provide more comforting protection eventually.
Team Quantummy, it was a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you so much for sharing your time and thoughts with us, and congratulations once again!
In the next part of our series, I had the pleasure to chat with Team ABC, our 1st Place winners at SummerHack 2020. I spoke with Rachel Fermo, Prinsa Gandhi, and JiaQi Zhao about their experiences as first-time Hackers and how they worked together to come up with their winning idea.
Rachel, Prinsa, and JiaQi, thank you so much for joining us today, and congratulations on conquering your first hackathon! Before we dive into your winning solution and your experience, let’s do a quick intro about yourselves.
Rachel: I’m going into my third year at the University of Toronto, and I am studying Actuarial Science and Statistics, possibly with a minor in Math. Eventually, I want to become an actuary in Canada. I’m not exactly sure which area to go into, possibly Life and Health, but they say it depends on your first internship!
Prinsa: I’m also going into my third year at U of T. I’m a double major in Actuarial Science and Statistics, working towards a minor in Math. I also want to become an actuary. I am interested in Property and Casualty, but I’m not sure yet either.
JiaQi: I’m going into Actuarial Science, and I also study Computer Science. I’m hoping to get a minor in Statistics or Economics.
In line with that, what inspired you to join SummerHack 2020?
Rachel: We get emails from our Statistics department about opportunities related to Statistics, and we got an email invite to SummerHack. We said, “Why not, it sounds really fun and it’s something we can put on our resume for experience”! It was a learning opportunity, and that’s why we wanted to join.
Prinsa: Initially, we were pretty nervous about it! When we went to the Slack webpage, there seemed to be a lot of older participants from the insurance industry, so we joined for the experience.
JiaQi: We thought, “Let’s just try it. No matter how it goes, at least we tried our best”.
As first-time Hackers, how did you prepare for the 24-hour event?
Rachel: The first thing we did after hearing about it is that we tried to search up definitions, because we didn’t really know what IoT was. The Cookhouse Labs team also released prep videos, which Prinsa watched and shared notes about, and that’s how we prepared for it.
Prinsa: We received videos and articles from our Mentor on Slack, so we read those. We also saw the guide you posted about Design Thinking in 24 hours with time stamps, so we read that and watched the videos you shared.
JiaQi: We worked with our Mentor, David Schraub, who shared definitions, videos, and articles, and we asked him a bunch of questions. That was really helpful!
So, which of the three challenges did you pick, and why did you choose that challenge?
Rachel: We ended up picking the challenge about overcoming obesity. We each decided to research a challenge, and then come together with our notes and ideas to see which ones would work. Overcoming obesity was the soundest one, so we choose that challenge.
Prinsa: When you released the challenges, we had a discussion with our Mentor and he explained each topic in the real industry and how it works. Then, we split up and found ideas for each topic. We chose obesity because we had the most ideas for it.
JiaQi: We had to choose between small business bankruptcy mitigation, overcoming obesity, and mobility. We had the idea of an app and we tried linking each challenge to it. We wanted a solution that was possible to implement but was also original.
Once you choose a challenge, how did you go about developing your solution?
Rachel: First, we came up with our idea through research around overcoming obesity and insurance. We talked about our idea with our Mentor, and he gave us ideas about how to further develop the idea. Our idea was a Smart tooth, so we asked, “How do we link that to insurance?” We decided to add an app to our solution and reduce insurance premiums, and so on.
Prinsa: We followed the guide on Design Thinking, and when we decided on overcoming obesity, we did the survey research part on Google. We had a meeting with our mentor, and he told us to think of a specific target group, since this solution wouldn’t work for everyone. So, we created a persona, and we went ahead with it.
JiaQi: When we met with our Mentor, he told us that it was best to choose a target group first, and then create our solution around it.
You mentioned your Mentor, David, helped you quite a bit. Could you tell us more about how he supported you throughout your journey?
Rachel: He was really helpful, because he would notice things that we wouldn’t, like what we should focus on and what we should include in our presentation. He would give us research articles and things to think about when we were researching our idea. We definitely attribute our success to how he helped us throughout.
Prinsa: He also thought about the business side, which we didn’t really think about. He gave us a lot of advice on how insurance really works in the real world, such as pricing. He would join our Zoom call every two hours and would give us suggestions on what would work and what wouldn’t.
JiaQi: He gave us a lot of insights and examples of how internet of things is currently used in insurance. It helped us develop our idea of Smart tooth and link it better to insurance. As we were developing our concept, on our zoom call, he can always bring something new on the table and help us make our solution better. We couldn’t have done this without his support.
You mentioned that your idea was an IoT–powered Smart tooth. Could you tell us more about the concept behind it?
Rachel: It’s a tiny piece of metal glued to your tooth, and depending on what nutrient it absorbs, the metal shifts its electrochemical properties. You can transmit the information from the tooth to your phone, and you can view the data on the app. It’s easily accessible compared to calorie counters that exist right now, where you have to manually input the numbers, which can be inaccurate. Our way was to make it easier for people to access the information and make it helpful for insurance companies, because you can give that information to insurance companies and it will be an incentive to reduce your insurance premiums for healthy living.
Prinsa:When we researched our personas, we found that a common problem with health apps was that the customer didn’t have time to input information. The Smart tooth would automatically tell you the calories that you consumed, so it makes the process a lot easier.
JiaQi: In Design Thinking, we were told to put ourselves in place of the person who would be using the app, and we learned that it wasn’t that people didn’t care about what they were eating; it was that they didn’t have time. This method was very helpful!
What do you think contributed to your success in winning 1st Place at SummerHack 2020?
Rachel: I think our idea was really creative! Personally, I was really impressed with all the work that we accomplished in 24 hours. A big part of our success was that we worked together; this was our first time working together and we all knew what we had to do! We communicated with each other the whole day and we didn’t leave the Zoom call until we finished it and recorded our presentation. Only then did we fall asleep!
Prinsa: We were always on the Zoom call working together, always discussing our ideas.
JiaQi: Listening to each other’s ideas really helped. Rachel came up with the idea for the Smart tooth, we added to it, and that’s how it became the final solution.
How would you describe the overall experience at the event?
Rachel: We had never done anything like this before! When we heard that we had 3 minutes to pitch our ideas, we always had that in the back of our minds. We recorded the video a couple of times so that it was under 3 minutes. We were pretty good go-getters and we didn’t back down from the challenge. We continued the whole way through.
Prinsa: It was a fun experience because it had to do with real life industry issues. While working on the solution, we were completely interested in it because we felt as if we were working on something that was meaningful. It was super fun!
JiaQi: I really liked it, especially because it was 24 hours. Prior to us doing that, I would have never thought that we could create something in such little time. The fact that we actually did it has made me more confident in doing hackathons now!
As you know, WinterHack 2020 is coming up in November! As our 1st Place team, what advice would you give incoming students for the next event?
Rachel: If you’re a student, you might be taken aback by the 24-hours and not know what to do. If you take advice from your mentor, that will be really helpful for you. It’s not always about winning; it’s also about learning, so have fun while you’re doing the hackathon!
Prinsa: I would say, don’t be scared or nervous about what you can contribute! Just enjoy the experience, because you’ll end up learning a lot. That’s why we went into this — we wanted to have a cool experience.
JiaQi:Don’t overthink it! I’m sure all of the participants were nervous but it went really well. It always goes better than you expect!
Final question: How do you think that an event like this can make insurance better?
Rachel: In an event like this, you have to be really creative and think outside the box. The ideas that you come up with are ideas that people don’t normally think about. By doing this, we have ideas that didn’t previously exist and can really help insurance.
Prinsa: The challenges that we were given made us think from the consumer’s point of view. We did what we thought the consumer would want and it really helped in the end.
JiaQi: I think that gathering people from different countries, industries, and experience brings much more diversity and different perspectives on tackling a problem. I believe that an event like this can bring new insights and ideas in insurance.
Team ABC, thank you so much for your time and congratulations once again on your big win at SummerHack 2020!
We’re gearing up for our next global hackathon, WinterHack 2020. To stay informed about the event, follow us on LinkedIn!
Last week, I had the pleasure of sitting down virtually with David Schraub, a Staff Fellow at the Society of Actuaries and the Mentor of our 1st Place team at our 24-Hour Global SummerHack 2020. During the interview, David discussed how his team developed their winning solution and shared advice on how teams at our upcoming WinterHack 2020 can replicate this success.
Thank you, David, for joining us — not only for the interview, but as a SummerHack 2020 Mentor to a student team. Congratulations on your team’s big win! We would love to hear about your experience as a Mentor, but before we do, let’s start with a quick introduction about you.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate! It was my first hackathon and my first interaction with Cookhouse Labs, and I had a lot of fun. Now, about me — I’m a French actuary that moved to the U.S. about 17 years ago and became an American actuary. I’m currently working for the Society of Actuaries (SOA), helping advance professional design and continuing education programs. My background is in Life Insurance; I focused on the ERM and investments side. Now, I’m working on predictive analytics and InsurTech initiatives that bring the SOA and actuaries to the forefront of innovation.
Thank you for that introduction, David! Our students loved having such an experienced Mentor guide them throughout the event. Tell me, what inspired you to mentor a student team?
A member of the Cookhouse Labs team reached out to me with the opportunity to mentor a group of actuarial students, and I became curious about the innovation process and the event itself. So, it was the curiosity, the potential for disruption, and the question, “What can we create in 24 hours?” I wanted to find out!
How did you go about engaging and preparing your team for the hackathon?
We started with an introductory call to get to know each other. The Events Team also suggested using this call to align on how Mentors and students would stay in touch during the event. I was interested in learning about the students’ backgrounds and what they wanted to get out of the experience. They were interested in Data Science and Internet of Things. In advance of the 24-hour period, I shared related articles and background reads to clarify a few concepts and help them prepare.
What process did your team undergo to develop the solution?
The Events Team spelled out a very good process with milestones that we had no reason to challenge — the Design Thinking methodology. Our team started by sharing ideas on each of the 3 challenges given and decided on the first one, Overcoming Obesity. We created a detailed Persona to help us understand the target market. We discussed the size of the target market and the expected profitability of a product. Your product doesn’t have to be relevant to everybody, so long as your target market is large enough to generate a profit. You may have a small group of people that are extremely interested in one topic, and you may be able to build a completely viable product for them. After we had a Persona, we defined their interests and disposable income. We then went about developing a solution, and the next step (if we had time) would have been to develop a business plan around it.
We’re very excited to hear Design Thinking helped your team create their solution around Overcoming Obesity! Could you briefly describe the concept behind the solution?
We came up with an IoT-backed tooth with sensors to monitor what you eat. For example, it can count the calories you consume or your snack times. Let’s say you’re craving a snack — the app will use the information to suggest you go for a walk instead of opening the fridge. The app could also be connected to your doctor, who could use the data to help you manage aspects of your health and wellness that are impacted by your nutrition.
What do you think your team did well that led them to conquering SummerHack 2020?
One thing that they did well was to actually deliver; they had a good presentation that was submitted on time. Another thing is that their solution met the need and was possible to implement. We found a few articles suggesting the concept is already being developed. They also demonstrated a clear link to insurance: there is potential to reduce life insurance premiums.
On that note, what would be your advice to teams going into our upcoming WinterHack 2020 in November?
Fully understand the requirements and deliver based on them! Submit your materials way in advance of the deadline and rehearse your pitch well. In fact, submit a video pitch to avoid technological issues that come with a live presentation. While all this may sound very basic, it is the key to success. Also, know what your solution can achieve and back this knowledge with numbers and statistics.
That’s very valuable advice! In a nutshell, how would you describe your experience at SummerHack 2020?
I’d say it was fun, interactive, and a great opportunity to learn!
How do you think such an event can help #MakeInsuranceBetter?
The basic answer would be to share these ideas with potential startups so that those products can be developed. They may make insurance better because they address the needs of the insured and of the insurance industry.
Thank you, David, for sharing your time with us and for mentoring our students at SummerHack 2020! Congratulations once again on your big win and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming WinterHack 2020 in November!
Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure!
We’re about to announce the winners of our Best Solution – Greater China Area prize (valued at $1,000 CAD)! The announcement will be made via Facebook live stream on Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 at 8 pm EDT. You don’t want to miss it, so click here to stay connected!
In July, we hosted SummerHack 2020, our first virtual 24-hour global hackathon. We were joined by 100+ insurers and student innovators from 10 countries around the world, mentored by 20+ insurance experts. This year’s theme was “IoT Disruption in Insurance”, and at our Kickoff Event, we announced the 3 challenges our teams could tackle:
Mobility Services How might we develop an IoT-based customer-focused holistic mobility insurance product/service?
Small Businesses How might we develop IoT-based risk-prevention services/products for small businesses?
Fight Obesity How might we develop IoT-based solutions/services to prevent and reduce obesity and overweight?
With that, our 22 teams set off to race against the clock to develop their IoT-powered solutions!
We wanted to provide support to our teams throughout their 24-hour journey – after all, innovation cannot happen without the right environment! At Cookhouse Labs, Design Thinking is our core methodology, and we encouraged our teams to use Design Thinking to guide their solutions. To help our teams prepare, we equipped them with Design Thinking Masterclasses, live topic-specific workshops, and a step-by-step guide on how to structure their time according to the 5 stages.
During the event, our Innovation Team provided live workshops with Q&A sessions to expand on the information shared in the Masterclasses. Whether it was Coach Ibeth’s high energy, UX/UI Designer Adys’s prototyping expertise, or Co-Founder Sven’s tips and tricks on presentation styles, our innovators had full access to our team’s knowledge and guidance. We were available round the clock to provide support – we even held a workshop at 3 in the morning! And man, was that fun!
What inspired us was the level of commitment shown by our participants; Mentors took time away from work to check on their teams, and Hackers worked on their solutions throughout the night, pausing only briefly for short breaks. There was a shared sense of community spirit, coupled with an understanding that innovation cannot thrive without collaboration. Before the event, Mentors shared advice on how to best support their students and took time to expand further on the specific topic and on insurance. During the event, teams tested their solutions with each other. Even our Judges stopped by the Kickoff Event to share in the excitement!
The 24-hour hackathon period ended with an adrenaline-fueled final hour, where Hackers rushed to add last-minute details to their IoT-powered solutions before the submission deadline. Once this deadline passed, our Live Pitch Event began – the moment of truth, where each team had 3 minutes to pitch their solution to our panel of esteemed Judges.
Our panel comprised of 5 Judges with over 120 years of industry experience between them. Our Judges were Kin Lee-Yow (CIO, CAA Club Group of Companies), Manisha Dias (AVP Business Development, SCOR), Thomas Börtzler (Chief Innovation Officer, Munich Re of Canada), Till Heydel (VP Strategy & Corporate Development, BI&I Canada), and Sven Roehl (Co-Founder, Cookhouse Labs and Head of Innovation, msg global). After a fast-paced round of pitches, our Judges stepped away for deliberation.
During this break, Coach Ibeth shared interesting facts about our 100+ innovators, a compilation of results from polls and questionnaires our teams had answered before the event. As we learned, for over 70% of participants, SummerHack 2020 was their first hackathon – an amazing surprise!
Our Judges returned and it was time to announce the winners. Based on the Judges’ feedback, the top solutions were:
1. Team ABC
2. Team Quantummy
3. Team HackerExplo
Stay tuned as we interview the winning teams and we share more details about their solutions on our upcoming series “SummerHack 2020 – A Race Against the Clock”.
The students won a total of $4,000 CAD in prizes, sponsored by msg global solutions Canada. Our 1st Place Mentor won a virtual Design Thinking session (valued at $2,000 CAD), hosted by our Innovation Team! We celebrated all teams, and in that moment, all teams shared a sense of accomplishment, of true community – they had just conquered a 24-hour global hackathon!
The competition is not over yet; we still have 1 more prize!
In the upcoming days, we will announce the winner of our Best Solution – Greater China Area prize. Sponsored by Besurance China Limited, this prize is valued at $1,000 CAD and will be awarded to the solution that best serves the Greater China Area. We will be announcing this prize via social media live stream – you don’t want to miss it, so click here to stay updated!
A big thank-you to our sponsors, partners, participants, Mentors, and Judges for helping us create an exciting global innovation experience! A special thank-you to our platform partner, Hackworks, for their continued support in organizing and executing SummerHack 2020. Your support made this journey a lot easier and fun!
We are grateful for the support we have received from the community in our journey to #MakeInsuranceBetter. We hope everyone enjoyed our first virtual hackathon! We look forward to seeing our innovators again at our upcoming virtual events, especially our WinterHack 2020, which is scheduled for November 3rd and 4th 2020.
Follow us for more details as we announce the dates, format, and topics – click here to stay connected!
If you’re joining us as a Hacker or Mentor this summer, you’re probably wondering how you’ll create a disruptive IoT-powered solution in just 24 hours. To help you prepare for our upcoming virtual hackathon, we’ve put together this quick guide on how to disrupt the insurance industry using Design Thinking in time for Friday’s deadline!
What is Design Thinking?
Previously in the insurance space, most insurers took the approach of creating solutions based solely on assumptions and hoped that their products or solutions would resonate with target audiences. Design Thinking reverses this logic by first identifying the root(s) of the problem, observing how people think and behave, and gathering customer insights. From there, they create practical solutions. Using this methodology invites teams to look at a problem through the eyes of the customer, put themselves in their shoes and fully empathize with the customer – who is ultimately the people impacted directly by the solution.
Stages of Design Thinking
The following are the stages of the Design Thinking process:
Empathize with the customer and other stakeholders
Define the opportunity or problem
Design a solution
Create and build a Minimum Viable Product/Concept/Service
Test the solution with customers and users
How to Use Design Thinking at SummerHack 2020
While the stages listed above may sound time-consuming, it’s possible to walk through each of them within a short timeframe. As a reminder, our Innovation Team will be available via regular check-in calls to answer any questions and provide support on how to follow Design Thinking to develop impactful solutions.
Below, we’ve broken down the 24-hour hackathon period using the Design Thinking process to help you structure your time (should you choose to do so) and succeed in SummerHack 2020!
Thursday, July 30th
9 AM – Empathize
At 9 am EDT, the Cookhouse Labs team will announce our IoT-based challenge and you will have 24 hours to create your solution!
Your Design Thinking journey begins with the first stage, Empathize. This is where you will begin to understand your target group, which can be done in 2 ways: internet research and interviews with your target group. You can’t create a customer-centric solution without putting yourself in the shoes of the customer, and a good way to do this is to speak directly with the potential customer and listen.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
An Empathy Map to help you visualize how the user thinks/feels and documents their pain points
1st Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 11 am to 12 pm!
3 PM – Define
The next stage focuses on constructing a point of view based on the user’s needs. Here, you will take time to reflect on what the user has shared with you and to visualize their experience. By doing so, you can define what problem you are trying to solve, which will help you shape a better experience for the user.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
A Journey Map, which is a narrative of your user’s steps to accomplish a specific goal. This is mapped out in 2 layers: a timeline of the user’s actions and their thoughts/emotions while completing each task. You want to identify areas where the user encounters obstacles or barriers along their journey
How Might We (HMW) statements, which are short questions that focus on specific problem areas from the Journey Map and identifies the benefits or gains the solution will bring. In the same project about bankruptcy mitigation, our team created 20 HMW statements and selected, “How might we reduce the risk of financial impact of current economic events?”
2nd Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 3 pm to 4 pm!
7 PM – Design
After selecting a single HMW statement to focus on, it’s time to ideate! This stage is all about connecting to your inner child and using your imagination to come up with multiple solutions to the problem your team identified. Quantity is important here, so remember to list as many possibilities as you can!
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
Multiple possible solutions to tackle the challenge in various timeframes
A chosen idea to begin prototyping!
3rd Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 7 pm to 8 pm!
11 PM – Create
Once your team has voted on a winning idea, you are now ready to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). You will begin by creating a low-fidelity prototype, which could take the form of a sketch, Excel spreadsheet, or PowerPoint presentation.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
A sketch of your Lo-Fi prototype to help visualize and test the solution
4th Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 11 pm to 12 am!
Friday, July 31st
3 AM – Test
Now that the solution has taken shape, it’s time to test and retest the idea with different users. The objective is to receive feedback on the content, design, and usability of the prototype and is usually done via surveys and interviews. It is important to remain open to feedback and fully engage with the potential end-user in order to understand their thoughts and improve your prototype. Note that if it is not possible to test with actual personas, you can either test within the team, with friends or connections you have in your network, your Mentor, or ask the Cookhouse Labs team if they have a chance to check out your solution.
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
A final MVP that is ready to be presented
5th Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 3 am to 4 am!
7 AM – Wrap-Up
In 2 hours, you will submit your final solution!
At this time, you should begin to practice your presentation and prepare any materials required (such as PowerPoint slides). Remember, you will only have three minutes to pitch your solution to our panel of judges!
Deliverables: By the end of this stage, you will have:
Submitted your solution on our platform, including a brief description and any additional materials
Prepared your presentation for our Live Pitch Event beginning at 9:30 am
6th Check-In: Our Innovation Experts will be available from 6 am to 7 am!
To provide even further support, our Innovation Team has prepared a Design Thinking video series to walk you through each stage in more detail, which you will have access to before the event.
And remember – along the way, you will have support from your Mentor, an industry expert dedicated to providing your team with valuable knowledge and expertise.
And with that, you are now ready to disrupt the insurance industry!
We wish all our teams the best of luck for SummerHack 2020! We invite our community members to join the Live Pitch Event on Friday, July 31st at 9:30 am EDT to see the exciting solutions our teams of student and corporate innovations develop.
In just 1 week, Cookhouse Labs will launch WinterHack 2020: Global Design Thinking Ideathon in partnership with InsurLab Germany and msg!
From our experience with hosting (physical) ideathons in previous years, we’ve found that these events are a great way to get innovators’ creative juices flowing. While there are prizes and glory at stake, there are many additional cool benefits to getting involved in WinterHack 2020. Let’s check out those benefits!
1. Time crunch encourages focused innovation
Most innovation projects span several weeks, where team members meet occasionally for a few hours to discuss their ideas. In an ideathon, innovators are aware they must present a prototype within 2 days and successfully sell their idea to the judges, meaning little time must be wasted on discussion. The ideathon’s 2-day time crunch encourages innovators to timebox, allowing them to complete tasks within predetermined fixed times.
2. Hackers build holistic solutions
The solution should go beyond solving the problem; innovators must adopt a holistic approach when developing the solution. Many aspects of the business model must be considered, such as the target group, the marketing plan, and how to finance product development. The solution will be evaluated against diverse judging criteria, including ease of implementation. There are many aspects to consider but only 2 days at hand, creating an exciting challenge!
3. Experience Design Thinking in action
Many ideathons do not have a guided process, but at Cookhouse Labs, we want to maximize the experience and use a methodology that fits into the 2-day timeframe. We’ve used Design Thinking in projects that range from ½ a day to 3 months, meaning we know how to tailor the method to fit any project duration. Through our workshops, participants will learn how to:
Empathize with the end-user to understand their needs
Map out the customer journey
Define the real problem
Build their prototypes
Test their solution on real users, and
Create compelling final presentations
We’ve found that following the methodology leads to better results than simply jumping into coding the solution. Our workshops are designed so that one team member can attend while the remaining members continue to develop the solution, thereby making the most of the time available.
4. Learn and build meaningful connections in the process
Mentors are subject matter experts who provide valuable industry knowledge to guide teams towards holistic solutions. Many of our teams are comprised of student hackers, and this is an incredible opportunity to learn from industry veterans and build meaningful connections that can lead to internships and career opportunities.
Mentors are in the unique position to show students how exciting the insurance industry can be! Our brilliant student teams have their own in-depth knowledge of analytics, AI models, and technology, and as a Mentor, you will see what our young talent can bring to the table.
5. A single problem will inspire many innovative solutions
WinterHack 2020 focuses on digital ecosystems in insurance, a major opportunity for the industry to innovate and adopt exciting technology. An internal team addressing this opportunity will likely develop a single solution, but by the end of the 2 days, industry experts will have access to a variety of solutions created by the teams. Often, the output is very robust, especially if team members have coding and design experience. The ideathon is an opportunity to collaborate with our teams to further develop these solutions into viable products which can potentially solve your organization’s challenges and positively impact the industry.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join this exciting global ideathon – click here to learn more about how you can participate in WinterHack 2020!
Last week, we asked the question, “How might the Internet of Things (IoT) assist small business owners with their financial management to improve profitability and reduce bankruptcy?”
Further, we asked, “How might we make small businesses more resilient now for future extreme events like COVID-19?”
Our team of innovators, comprised of students and insurers, raced against the clock to create a solution to these challenges in 24 hours. The team was mentored by Cookhouse Labs China Partner Jason Alleyne, an industry veteran with over a decade of innovation experience. Our Head Innovation Coach Ibeth Ramos facilitated the virtual project, offering valuable tips and high-energy motivation to remain focused throughout the experience.
As our team set out to understand the effect of the pandemic on small businesses around the world, they were given a crash course in Design Thinking by Coach Ibeth throughout their journey. As they learned in the workshop, in order to solve the problem in a way that would be meaningful to the end user, they needed to first hear and understandthe struggles of the end user. Thus, the team began their 24-hour journey with the interviews of business owners from China, Bermuda, and Canada.
After recording their insights on our digital whiteboard, the team created a persona to represent the end user – Fiona, a small business owner in Toronto. They mapped out her journey from launching a new product to cost-cutting as a result of the current economic impact, aiding them in understanding the thoughts and emotions that she experienced along the way.
Equipped with these data points, the team came up with over 20 “How Might We” statements to describe the challenge at hand. They worked together to narrow the problem down to a single statement focused on reducing the risk of financial impact of current economic events. In turn, this would reduce the number of staff fired as a result of cost-cutting.
Now that the problem was defined, what was the solution?
The team ideated many well-developed IoT-powered solutions to tackle this challenge and quickly selected the winning idea: a financial planning tool with elements of community and skill development. They were guided by our Senior UX/UI Designer, Adys Franco, who walked them through the various design tools they could use to prototype their solution.
As they began to build a prototype of their tool, the team collaborated on the design and content of the solution. They established a user flow to show how business owners could access each feature. Coach Ibeth delivered one final workshop on best practices to follow during the testing phase, and as the clock struck midnight, the team decided to call it a night.
7 hours later, they returned with a renewed enthusiasm – it was time to test out their solution! The team reconnected with two business owners from China and Canada, and carefully noted down the feedback they received. As some members continued to tweak the tool based on the feedback, others began to work on the final presentation of their solution to the insurance community.
Soon, excited attendees began to fill the virtual space, curious about the solution the team had come up with. In a fun and engaging presentation, the team took the audience through their exhilarating 24-hour journey and finally revealed their solution. As with all Cookhouse Labs co-creation projects, a discussion was sparked around the potential of this solution in the global economy, with both innovators and attendees adding fascinating insights from their own experiences to the dialogue.
We would like to thank everyone from the participants, in particular the group of young people for their interest and commitment to the insurance topics, to the facilitators and the audience for creating an invaluable virtual experience. Every Cookhouse Labs project is designed to Make Insurance Better, and thanks to such exciting collaborations from our community members, we know that we are making a shift for the better, one session at a time!
To learn about our upcoming virtual events and to get involved, please visit our Events page here.
Here at Cookhouse Labs we are always happy to hear from you. Send us your Feedback or ask any question!
msg global solutions Canada Inc., and each of its affiliates or programs (“Cookhouse Labs”), is committed to providing transparency to outside parties with respect to the compliance of the organization’s electronic communication with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, in effect as of July 1st, 2014, and its relevant rules and regulations (hereinafter “CASL”). To that end, the Msg global solutions Anti-Spam Commitment is a formal statement of rights and obligations which is made available to outside parties. It is intended to inform outside parties of the type of responsible and transparent practices adopted by Msg global solutions when electronically communicating with outside parties, to inform outside parties about who they may contact at Msg global solutions for any concern pertaining to electronic communications, and to inform such outside parties of where and how they may unsubscribe to any electronic communications from msg global solutions. This document also includes a series of answers to questions about spam and msg global solutions’ practices that are frequently asked by outside parties that msg global solutions may communicate with.
1. APPLICATION AND SCOPE.
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Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities
Documents Available Notification (AODA)
Dear Valued Clients and Visitors,
msg global solutions Canada Inc. has created policies and procedures to meet their obligations regarding customer service outlined in the Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. 2005.
Our accessibility policies are available for your review in a number of formats. Should you wish access to these documents in another way, please notify: email@example.com
Statement of Organizational Commitment
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Statement of Commitment to Accessibility
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Ten Privacy Principles
Accountability: We are responsible for personal information under our control and we have designated individuals who are accountable for our compliance with these privacy principles.
Identifying Purposes: We shall disclose the purposes for which we collect your personal information either before or at the time the information is collected.
Consent: Your knowledge and consent is required for our collection, use or disclosure of your personal information, subject to certain exceptions set out in the law. Your consent may be expressed in writing, verbally, electronically, and in certain circumstances, may also be implied.
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Accuracy: We shall use reasonable efforts to ensure that your personal information is accurate, complete and as up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.
Safeguards: We shall protect your personal information using security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of your information to prevent unwanted release, misuse or intrusion.
Openness: Information about our privacy policies and procedures for handling your personal information shall be made available to you.
Individual Access: Upon written request, you will be informed of the existence, use and disclosure of your personal information. In addition, you will be given access to your personal information, as permitted by law. You may also verify the accuracy and completeness of your personal information and, where appropriate, request that it be amended.
Inquiries and Concerns: You may contact us if you have any questions or concerns about our privacy policies and procedures.
1.2. Contact Us
Information We Collect
2.1. When You Visit our Websites
You are free to explore the Websites without providing any information about yourself. However, when you visit the Websites, we may request that you provide Personal Information about yourself and we will collect Navigational Information.
2.2. “Personal Information”
This refers to any information that you voluntarily submit to us through the use of our Websites, and that identifies you personally, including contact information, such as your name, e-mail address, company name, address, phone number, and other information about yourself or your business. Personal Information can also include information about any transactions, both free and paid, that you enter into on the Websites, and information about you that is available on the internet, such as from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Google, or publicly available information that we acquire from service providers.
2.3. “Navigational Information”
This refers to information about your computer and your visits to this website such as your IP address, geographical location, browser type, referral source, length of visit and pages viewed. Please see section 4 the “Navigation Information” section, below.
2.4. Information About Individuals Under 18
The Websites are not intended for or targeted at individuals under 18, and we do not knowingly or intentionally collect information about individuals under 18. If you believe that we have collected information about an individual under 18, please contact us at: email@example.com, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street , Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy, so that we may delete the information.
How We Use Information We Collect
3.1. We Never Sell Personal Information
We will never sell your Personal Information to any third party.
3.2. Use of Personal Information
3.3. Use of Navigational Information
We use Navigational Information to operate and improve the Websites and underlying marketing software. We may also use Navigational Information alone or in combination with Personal Information to provide you with personalized information about the Software Provider.
3.4. Customer Testimonials and Comments
We post customer testimonials and comments on our Websites, which may contain Personal Information. We obtain each customer’s consent via email prior to posting the customer’s name and testimonial.
3.4. Use of Credit Card Information
We do not directly collect credit card information from you. We use a third-party service provider to manage credit card processing. This service provider is not permitted to store, retain, or use information you provide except for the sole purpose of credit card processing on our behalf.
3.5. Service Providers
We employ other companies and people to provide services to visitors to our Websites, such as the use of underlying marketing software, and may need to share your information with them to provide information, products or services to you. Examples may include removing repetitive information from prospect lists, analyzing data, providing marketing assistance, processing credit card payments, supplementing the information you provide us in order to provide you with better service, and providing customer service. In all cases where we share your information with such agents, we explicitly require the agent to acknowledge and adhere to our privacy and customer data handling policies.
3.6. Security of your Personal Information
We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. We secure the Personal Information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. When sensitive Personal Information (such as geo-location data) is collected on our Websites and/or transmitted to other websites, it is protected through the use of encryption, such as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol.
If you have any questions about the security of your Personal Information, you can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy.
3.7. Social Media Features
3.8. External Websites
3.9. Retention of Personal Information
We retain Personal Information that you provide us as long as we consider it potentially useful in contacting you about our services and products, or as needed to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes and enforce our agreements, and then we securely delete the information. We will delete this information from the servers at an earlier date if you so request, as described in the “Opting Out and Unsubscribing” section below.
If you have elected to receive marketing communications from us, we retain information about your marketing preferences for a reasonable period of time from the date you last expressed interest in our content, products, or services, such as when you last opened an email. We retain information derived from cookies and other tracking technologies for a reasonable period of time from the date such information was created.
3.10. International Transfer of Information
3.11. Corporate Events
If we (or our assets) are acquired by another company, whether by merger, acquisition, bankruptcy or otherwise, that company would receive all information gathered on the Websites. In this event, you will be notified via email and/or a prominent notice on our Website, of any change in ownership, uses of your Personal Information, and choices you may have regarding your Personal Information.
3.12. Compelled Disclosure
We reserve the right to use or disclose your Personal Information if required by law or if we reasonably believe that use or disclosure is necessary to protect our rights; protect your safety or the safety of others; investigate fraud; or comply with a law, court order or legal process.
We use “cookies” to help you personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web server. Cookies are not used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you. One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. The purpose of a cookie is to tell the web server that you have returned to a specific page. For example, if you personalize pages on our Websites, a cookie helps us to recall your specific information on subsequent visits. When you return to the same Website, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the customized features.
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. If you choose to decline cookies, you may not be able to fully experience the interactive features of the Websites you visit. Cookhouse Labs keeps track of the Websites and pages you visit within Cookhouse Labs, in order to determine what portion of the Website is the most popular or most used. This data is used to deliver customized content and promotions within the Website to customers whose behavior indicates that they are interested in a particular subject area.
4.2. Log Files
We may collect demographic information, such as your postal or zip code, age, gender, preferences, interests and favorites using log files that are not associated with your name or other Personal Information. There is also information about your computer hardware and software that is automatically collected by us. This information can include: your IP address, browser type, domain names, internet service provider (ISP), the files viewed on our site (e.g., HTML pages, graphics, etc.), operating system, clickstream data, access times and referring website addresses. This information is used by Cookhouse Labs for marketing purposes, to maintain the quality of the Websites and to provide general statistics regarding use of the Website. For these purposes, we do link this automatically-collected data to Personal Information, such as name, email address, address and phone number.
4.3. Clear Gifs (Web Beacons/Web Bugs)
We employ a software technology called clear gifs (a.k.a. “web beacons” or “web bugs”), that help us better manage the Website by informing us what content is effective. Clear gifs are tiny graphics with a unique identifier, similar in function to cookies, and are used to track the online movements of visitors to our Websites. In contrast to cookies, which are stored on a user’s computer hard drive, clear gifs are embedded invisibly on web pages or in emails and are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. We use clear gifs in our HTML-based emails to let us know which emails have been opened by recipients. This allows us to gauge the effectiveness of certain communications and the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. We tie the information gathered by clear gifs in emails to our customers’ Personal Information. If you would like to opt-out of these emails, please see “Opting Out and Unsubscribing”.
4.5. Third Party Tracking Technologies
How to Access & Control Your Personal Data
5.1. Reviewing, Correcting and Removing Your Personal Information
Upon request Cookhouse Labs will provide you with information about whether we hold any of your Personal Information. You have the following rights with respect to that information:
To request access, correction, updates or deletion of your personal information;
To object to processing of your personal information;
To restrict processing of your personal information;
To request portability of your personal information; and
To opt out of being solicited by Cookhouse Labs,
To exercise any of these rights, please contact us at: email@example.com, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy. We will respond to your request to change, correct or delete your information within a reasonable timeframe, and notify you of the action we have taken.
If we have collected and process your personal information with your consent, then you can withdraw your consent at any time. Withdrawing your consent will not affect the lawfulness of any processing we conducted prior to your withdrawal, nor will it affect processing of your personal information conducted in reliance on lawful processing grounds other than consent.
You have the right to complain to a data protection authority about our collection and use of your personal information.
5.2. Anti-Spam Policy
Our Acceptable Use Policy, at: www.cookhouselab.com/casl-acceptable-use, applies to us and, among other things, prohibits us from sending unsolicited commercial email in violation of applicable laws, and requires the inclusion of an “opt-out” mechanism in any commercial electronic messages that we send.
5.3. To Unsubscribe From Our Communications
You may unsubscribe from our marketing communications by clicking on the “unsubscribe” link located on the bottom of our commercial electronic messages, contacting us at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by postal mail at: Cookhouse Labs, 30-34 Duncan Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5H 1A1, Attention: Privacy.