Crimson takes part in Microsoft’s PowerPlatform Hackathon for Make-a-Wish UK

Mark Britton News

Three members of the Crimson team recently took part in the PowerPlatform Hackathon, which was held on the 14th and 15th March at the Microsoft Reactor in London, and saw Microsoft teaming up with inspiring charity, Make-A-Wish UK.

Busy hacking Microsoft cloud technology to help Make-A-Wish

Founded in 1986, Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses, enabling them to have magical experiences, build confidence and create special memories. Wishes that children have granted range from meeting their heroes or favourite celebrities to travelling to their ultimate travel destination.

The Crimson team consisted of Tom Clayton, Mark Cotton and Iwan Pritchard, working alongside Oli Ward, a technical solutions professional at Microsoft.  Our team was one of 18 teams taking part in the event, where we were all tasked with “hacking” a solution that would address one of Make-A-Wish’s four key challenges and then presenting this to over 100 attendees at the event.

The Crimson team focused on finding a solution to the time challenge faced by the Make-A-Wish team. Every “wish visitor” from the charity only has a short amount of face-to-face time with an unwell child and their family to talk about what the child’s wishes are, and what they want ultimately want Make-A-Wish to help them achieve. Furthermore, the charity often has limited information about the child before this meeting, and little in the way of background to their wish request.

The Crimson team present their solution

To address this, we built a solution using PowerApps, CDS, Azure Cognitive Services, PowerBI and Teams. Our solution enables the families of those children wanting a wish to be granted, to take photos with their phones of anything and everything that they are interested in. These photos are then uploaded to CDS and pushed to Azure before image visualisation services analyse the photos and (almost using magic!) tag the images with everything it “sees.” All of these tags are then thrown into a word cloud, creating a “wish granter” that gives a personal overview of what interests the child and allowing for a targeted conversation around their dream wish.   Any images uploaded are also pushed into a conversation in Teams, enabling the Make-A-Wish foundation to have conversations about the experience.

The Crimson team, two of which were junior members of staff, was given a special mention by the judges for its understanding of the human aspects of the challenges faced by Make-a-Wish staff, its consideration as to how to engage their users and for its use of Teams.

Praising Crimson’s solution, Oli Ward, said: “It’s worth calling out that many of the teams taking part were made up of seasoned professionals, with multiple years of experience who’ve built careers knowing some of the core tech we were using.  What Tom and Iwan put together in six hours or so stood up really well next to the hacks produced by the other teams.”

We found the experience inspiring and very worthwhile, and enjoyed seeing all of the different and innovative ideas from all of the teams taking part.  We’d like to thank Microsoft and Make-A-Wish for hosting what was an excellent showcase for the power of tech-for-good in action, and we look forward to taking part in future PowerPlatform Hackathons.