Previous Innovation Challenges

Interested in learning more about previous Innovation Challenges?

Here are the ones we've done in the past:

 

January 2020 - Mental Health Technology in Agriculture

“How can technology be used to monitor the amount of solid waste generated and disposed of in the province?”

Background

This latest Innovation Challenge aims to address a growing concern within Saskatchewan where calls to the farm stress line in 2018-2019 doubled from the previous year. The agriculture industry faces many unique challenges when it comes to mental health/wellness. Farmers and their families live and work in the same location and their daily routines are high stress and vulnerable to many factors outside of their control. This Innovation Challenge aims to find a technological solution that will assist Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers in managing their mental health.

The minimum requirements of the prototype are:

1. enable Saskatchewan farmers to easily input, monitor, and share mental wellness data points; and,

2. recognize and address the unique challenges specific to agricultural technology (such as internet connectivity, etc.)

The Challenge will be led by the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with Innovation Saskatchewan. Solutions could take many forms including, but not limited to, a mobile phone app, website program, artificial intelligence interface or offline sensor linking to the internet. Since no knowledge of specific agricultural operations is required, this challenge encourages and welcomes relationships between the agriculture industry and other sectors.

Outcome

The winner was announced in June 2020 and will receive a contract of $10,000 and the opportunity to have their product validated and piloted.

The company that was selected as winners of the challenge:  

  • Bridges Health - A Saskatoon-based mental health service organization that developed a mobile app, Avail. Avail uses regular quesitonnaires to establish baseline data on an individual’s needs. It then provides resources or other follow-up options if it observes changes in the information put into the application. Individuals can also choose to opt into a social network that can send notifications to professionals or those trusted in their community. The app can be downloaded from any app store.

 

April 2019 - Rural Property Access Challenge

“How can technology be used as a tool to obtain permission from rural property owners before accessing their land?”

Background 

Changes to The Trespass to Property Act require members of the public to receive permission from rural property owners before accessing their land. The focus of the legislation is to minimize and prevent misunderstandings over land use and to protect the interests of rural landowners.  However, the lack of publicly available land ownership information makes it difficult for individuals to request permission before accessing property. The Innovation Challenge aims to find a technological solution that enables the public and landowners to communicate with one another.

The Challenge will be led by the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) with support from Innovation Saskatchewan. 

Outcome

The winner was announced on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 and will receive a contract of $10,000 and the opportunity to have their product validated and piloted.

The company that was selected as winners of the challenge:  

  • Western Heritage – A Saskatoon-based companythat developed a mobile application that allows users to request land access from verified landowners, and for landowners to manage access to their property by providing approvals.  The application aims to maintain user anonymity and enable a two-way rating system, similar to Uber and Airbnb.

 

January 2018 - Waste Diversion Challenge

“How can technology be used to monitor the amount of solid waste generated and disposed of in the province?”

Background

Saskatchewan does not have a reporting mechanism to account for waste generated, diverted and disposed of in the province. The majority of Saskatchewan waste management sites or transportation trucks do not have the ability to measure the amount of waste received or diverted.  To support the Provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy, it is important to understand the volume of waste that is generated in the province and where it ends up.

This challenge will be pursued in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment.  

Outcome

The winners were announced on Monday, April 29, 2019 and they will both receive a contract of $10,000 and the opportunity to have their product validated and piloted by the Ministry of Environment.

Two companies were selected as winners of the challenge:  

  • Prairie Robotics Inc. – A Regina-based company that will use artificial intelligence to estimate the weight of the waste            entering landfills.  It will capture data in real time to automatically generate waste reports across the province.
  • A team from the University of Regina – The team is led by Professor Kelvin Ng, an environmental systems engineer.  The team will measure waste using weigh-in-motion technology optimized for Saskatchewan’s extreme weather.  Weigh-in-motion systems measure the weight of moving vehicles.

 

Fall 2017 - Rural Crime Innovation Challenge

“How can technology be used as a solution to improve the safety and security of rural citizens and rural property?”

Safety = beyond confrontation / removing confrontation

Security = the comfort [for the citizen] of knowing the solution is there

Background

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for promoting adequate and effective policing throughout Saskatchewan; the preservation of peace, prevention for crime, efficiency of police and improvement of police relationships with Saskatchewan communities.

Rural Saskatchewan residents have real and perceived concerns surrounding their personal safety and the security of their property.

Residents have expressed that the combination of slow response times to calls for service and lack of police visibility and presence has caused rural residents, including farmers and their families, to live in fear or protect themselves by taking emergent matters into their own hands.

The Ministry of Justice and Innovation Saskatchewan are looking for technology solutions to prevent and proactively respond to these issues.

Outcome

Jeff Shirley of Saskatoon was chosen as the winner of the Rural Crime Innovation Challenge.  His solution, BeeSecure, is an app and small component that is attached to a piece of property.  The small device sends a text message and GPS data to the owner’s cell phone and the app when an object moves. The hardware does not require permanent power or the internet to alert the owner of unusual activity of their property.  To find out more, see https://beesecure.ca/