I first heard about this idea last fall and thought it was a great way to engage a wider audience in coming with new ideas for how to use IT to transform healthcare services delivery. Infoway’s ImagineNation ideas challenges offers cash prizes for “bold, new ideas – or creative combinations of existing ideas.”
Ideas will be evaluated according to four criteria:
- Impact on Health and Health Care in Canada (30%)
- Innovation & Originality (30%)
- Effective Use of Technology (20%)
- Feasibility (20%)
A total of $35,000 in prize money is available and will be awarded as follows:
- $100 for up to 50 top ideas
- $250 for the idea that receives the most votes from Canadians (“Canada’s Choice” Award)
- $5,000 for each of up to 5 top finalists
- An additional $5,000 for the winning idea
The top ideas will be announced July 5th just after the Canada Day long weekend. You can find more details here.
According to Infoway, they plan to “promote the leading ideas” though the exact details of how they will do so have not been specified. As well, they are “considering future initiatives that may be informed by the best ideas“.
Overall, I think that the notion of a public “challenge” is a good way to raise greater awareness of the impact that IT can have on healthcare and to more meaningfully engage Canadians in Infoway’s mission. The US First Lady, Michelle Obama, issued a similar challenge last year to develop mobile applications to combat childhood obesity and not only raised awareness about this growing problem but also stimulated development of some innovative mobile applications.
I do wish that the public input would have a greater impact on selecting the winning ideas. Perhaps a more substantial cash award could be associated with the “people’s choice”. Or, maybe the criteria could be adjusted so that public voting would factor into the choice of the top winners.