About Solveathon Workshops

What are Solveathon Workshops?

MIT Solve will host a series of Solveathon® workshops – virtual, high-energy workshops designed to build teams and strengthen their applications for the Global Surgical Training Challenge.

Solveathon workshops will be hosted virtually in five regions around the world. Each region will have three activities: online networking, a Team Building Solveathon Workshop, and a Refinement Solveathon Workshop.

During these Solveathon workshops, you will;

  • Connect with professionals who are interested in surgical training,
  • Further your understanding of the Challenge and requirements to compete,
  • Build or expand your project team,
  • Refine your project through facilitated design thinking activities developed at MIT,
  • Work to develop your knowledge on how to compile a skills assessment framework.

What happens during Solveathon Workshops?

Solveathon® workshops are designed by MIT Solve to help form strong teams of multidisciplinary professionals, and to begin to build your surgical training projects.

MIT Solve is hosting workshops in five regions globally. Each region will have three activities: online networking, a Team Building Solveathon, and a Refinement Solveathon.

All workshops will be hosted virtually via Zoom — a free videoconferencing platform. Online networking will also be available via Slack — a free, online chat platform.

Team Building Solveathon

If you’re interested in expanding or joining a project team, the Team Building Solveathon is for you. In this workshop, existing teams will pitch their projects, and describe their technical and people needs. Those without a team will either have the chance to join an existing team, or form their own. Think of the Team Building Solveathon as a dating service for surgical educators and technologists!

Refinement Solveathon

If you’ve formed a strong team and want to build your project, the Refinement Solveathon is for you. In this workshop, expert facilitators from MIT and Nesta Challenges will guide you through a series of activities designed to strengthen your project. These activities are collaborative, engaging, and even fun! Participants will have the chance to get feedback on their projects from expert mentors from around the world.

At the end of this workshop, each team will have developed a theory of change, key product features, user journey, skills assessment framework, succinct pitch, and project overview on MIT Solve’s open innovation platform. These products will help you to apply for the Discovery Awards (applications open September 2020), which will grant 10 teams up to US$200,000 to develop and test their surgical modules.

We encourage everyone to participate in both workshops to prepare for the Discovery Awards.

Why participate?

The Global Surgical Training Challenge is designed to support the creation of training modules that help surgical practitioners learn new skills and test their own skills acquisition in low resource settings.

While participation in Solveathon® workshops is optional, they are designed to help teams meet the requirements for the Discovery Awards. We will help you build your team to ensure you meet the Challenge’s eligibility criteria and you have the best chance of success.

Solveathon workshops will help you to develop self-assessment frameworks that will allow these surgical training modules to test skills outside the classroom. These workshops will also help prepare your application for the Discovery Awards, opening in September 2020.

Each workshop will support these aims, while also building regional networks of people who are passionate about surgical innovation and health equity.

Who can participate?

Creating novel surgical training modules can only be achieved by multidisciplinary teams with experience in resource-constrained settings. To make up these teams, we are looking for;

  • surgical education specialists with experience in resource-constrained settings,
  • clinicians with experience in resource-constrained settings,
  • engineers, software developers,
  • artists, medical illustrators, film prop creators and designers.


We anticipate many of you wishing to attend will already be working in such multidisciplinary teams. However, we also anticipate interest from individuals from related fields and we will work with you to place you in a team suitable to take on the Challenge.

How do I sign up?

MIT Solve is hosting Solveathon® workshops virtually in five regions around the world. You should join the regional workshops in your own region, however if you are unable to do so feel free to join another set of workshops of your choosing.

Solveathon workshops will occur in five regions;

  • Sub-Saharan Africa, 
  • Latin America & Carribean, 
  • Eastern Europe, Middle East & North Africa, 
  • South Asia, 
  • East Asia & Pacific. 

These are grouped by key countries in similar time zones. The Challenge requires the project lead to be working in a lower or middle income country and these regions reflect that. Participants outside of these regions should join the region most relevant to their work or in a convenient time zone. 

Online networking will happen on Slack, a free, online chat platform. You’ll be able to connect with others in your region or profession prior to each workshop.

Please click the link below to register for Solveathon workshops in your region.