Crowdsourcing Changes in Healthcare

Published Dec-01-14

A US nationwide competition to make healthcare simpler yields two winning ideas that can help improve health and well-being.

Target, United States

The Story:

Crowdsourcing Changes in Healthcare Thanks to the ubiquity of the internet and the speed of modern communications, crowdsourcing contests have become a popular strategy to engage smart brains to invent new products and solve challenges.

In 2013, the American retailing company Target unveiled its Simplicity Challenge. The crowdsourcing contest was a search for innovative ideas to address challenges in healthcare, principally to simplify processes. Ideas were sought in two specific categories: helping people with a chronic condition to live well and helping people make positive lifestyle and prevention choices.

“As a retailer serving millions of guests and an employer of more than 361,000 team members, Target recognizes the growing concern over healthcare in the U.S. and strives to be a positive part of the solution,” commented José Barra, senior vice president of health and beauty, Target.

Transforming Healthcare Mindset

The crowdsourcing initiative was open to healthcare industry professionals, students, academics and the general public. The underlying aim of the project was to contribute to a change in mindset, one in which healthcare is viewed as an ongoing part of day to day living and where people make informed choices about what they consume.

Hundreds of submissions were received, ranging from apps to in-store innovations and a panel of Target executives whittled them down to eight semi-finalists. They based their decisions on originality, creativity and compelling nature for Target and healthcare. The public was also able to vote for their favorites, and the ultimate winners were chosen through a combination of the public vote and the views of the judging panel.

Grand Prize Winners

From the semi-finalist group, two grand prize winners were selected.

The winners were:

In the Positive Lifestyle category - Simply Balanced Café. This concept is for meals made from locally grown, fresh organic ingredients to be sold at Target's in-store cafés.

In the Manage Health Condition category - Target Care Registry. This idea is for an online gift registry for caregivers of individuals suffering from chronic health conditions.

Both winners received $25,000, a trip to Minneapolis to present their idea and the opportunity to work with Target to make the concepts a reality.

Small Changes Big Impact

Target is a big fan of crowdsourcing and co-creating with the public. In an interview with ‘A Bullseye View’, Target's online magazine, Nate Garvis, one of the challenge judges said that crowdsourcing is a great way to engage the public on what they want and to put them in the "driver's seat" for brainstorming ideas for the future.

The Target Simplicity Challenge didn’t generate any earth-shattering innovations, but that wasn’t the intent. The organizers believe that big things can come from making small changes.

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