Lean culture hacking with Blockchain via OA Digital Health boot camp

Congratulations to UIC undergraduate entrepreneurs - Gabriel Piekarek, Kerry Kurcz, Shay Gin, and Ja Goo - who recently completed our Digital Health boot camp and placed #1 in student team competition. 

Boot camp instructors were Narciso Albarracin, MS, CSM and Ephraim Caangay, MD. The team was tasked to explore how caregivers can effectively share patient-reported outcomes for seniors with cognitive disorders using Blockchain technology.


At ONTOADAPTIVE, LLC (OA), we are passionate about making a real-world impact where humans and cognitive technologies meet. As a UIC College of Business (COB) Capstone sponsor, we are proud to give back and run boot camps as part of our “Lean culture hacking” mindset. By Lean, we mean the “third way” or continual experimentation, taking risks and learning from failure; and understanding that repetition and practice is the prerequisite to mastery. By culture, we mean innovation is mainly a human process and not just about technology. By hacking, we mean our special blend of Lean thinking, Digital Health Design, and Agile product development from the trenches.

What were outcomes or key results? Within 15 weeks, the team delivered patient experience maps which guided the development of a minimum viable product (MVP). Specifically, they baked off two major Blockchain platform leaders: Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud. Activities converged to a final “demo day”, a formal report, and finally, a team competition. All these learnings help manage risks and guide future investments with regard to a more informed technology direction with boots to the ground reconnaissance on Microsoft Azure Blockchain-as-service (i.e., Ethereum) versus IBM’s Hyperledger offerings.

Were there challenges?  Absolutely. For many undergraduates, this is their first exposure to real-world team-based immersion into stakeholder communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and assessing bleeding-edge methods and technology. Accelerated exposure to human-centered design (HCD), Cloud, Blockchain, and Agile can be overwhelming. Explicit mentoring, direction, and guidance is required. Blockchain technology is moving rapidly that much platform learning was done on the fly.


No free lunch. For an effective boot camp, plan for about 150 to 200 hours of effort for directing, mentoring, scheduling the time of faculty, subject matter experts (SMEs), and technologists, and organizing for iterative and final “demo day” reviews.  Internally, your culture and processes will be challenged - How well can you describe your problems? Are they digestible? How are your onboarding processes? How do boot camp concepts align with other student learning objectives? What are the skill gaps?  Are your methods, technology platforms, and subscriptions ready? What methods or collaboration tools are most effective?

Co-create with us. As with our boot camps, we approach industry problems, engage clients, and build products with a “culture hacking” mindset. We tackle seemingly impossible problems into more digestible components with our customized approach to  and technology exploration. Curious on which Blockchain approach was selected and why? Or even how to approach your internal innovation? Drop us a line. Look for follow-up posts on the Blockchain in Healthcare event recently held in Chicago.