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Data, Design and Diabetes

On June 9, 2011, sanofi-aventis U.S. announced the “sanofi-aventis U.S. Innovation Challenge: Data, Design, Diabetes” at the National Institute of Health’s Health Data Initiative Forum. The challenge integrates open data with a human-centered view into diabetes, and will award $220,000 in total prize money. Guest blogger Michele Polz provides details on how this challenge came to be, and the future of similar challenges to change the face of healthcare.

The room was packed and there was a buzz in the air. It was June 9, and I was at the Health Data Initiative Forum, an effort to accelerate momentum for the public use of data and innovation to improve health. Hosted by the Institute of Medicine and Health and Human Services, the event brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs, technologists, data mavens, and government officials driving innovation in health and healthcare.

As the Head of Patient Solutions, Diabetes, Sanofi-Aventis U.S., I couldn’t think of a better place to announce the “sanofi-aventis U.S. Innovation Challenge: Data, Design, Diabetes.”

For those who might not be familiar, diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease that has reached epidemic proportion in the US and at current rates the CDC estimates that by the year 2050 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes. It is known as a “self-managed” disease, requiring people with diabetes to frequently check their blood sugar levels, administer treatments, and keep track of a lot of numbers. In one sense, people living with diabetes are the epitome of the quantified self movement.

“Innovation” has many definitions, so for this challenge we are looking for a solution that brings together the strength of insight enabled by open data sets and the empathetic connection provided through human-centered design to meaningfully help people living with diabetes in the US.

We were equally interested in ensuring that the best data-driven and human centered solutions receive more than a token award. We want to see solutions come to market to complement the treatments and devices that are currently available. It is also important to note that as an open innovation challenge, all intellectual property and equity will remain the property of its creators throughout the entire competition.

sanofi-aventis U.S. Innovation Challenge: Data Design Diabetes from Data Design Diabetes on Vimeo.

These principles helped shape the staged approach that we feel is necessary to change the face of healthcare:

July 1, 2011 – July 31, 2011: The competition is open and submissions are accepted via entry form on the website: www.datadesigndiabetes.com. Note that the submission is a concept only with potential to be prototyped within 4 weeks.

August 5, 2011: A panel of esteemed judges will select 5 semi-finalists, who will be awarded $20,000 to build a prototype.

August 8 to September 2, 2011: The 5 semifinalists will take part in a “virtual incubator” where they will be provided advice and mentorship from industry leaders in topics such as user experience, business modeling, and technology architecture. The areas of mentorship will be determined by the semi-finalist concepts.

September 2011: The 5 semi-finalists will take part in a “Demo Day” to pitch their concepts. The event will be live-streamed.

October 1, 2011: Two finalists will be announced and awarded $10,000 to conduct a community uptake exercise. The community uptake exercise consists of engaging with a real community of people living with diabetes gather responses to their prototype. Finalists will determine the community uptake location and format with the Sponsors. The exercise will be one month long.

December 15, 2011: 1 winner will be announced and awarded $100,000 and a 1-month stay at the Rock Health accelerator to develop their concept.

So at this point, I’d like to issue a personal appeal to the Pulse + Signal readers who may be considering this challenge. Your interest in health and technology has the potential to improve the experience or outcome for the millions of people living with diabetes today. To learn more:

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