Innovators, Entrepreneurs, and Developers: Use Your Skills In The Fight Against Diabetes!

I am a sucker for a challenge…almost to a fault. I just can’t walk away from a good opportunity to wrap my brain around a problem.

Just ask anyone who knows me, the easiest way to get me to solve a problem is to say something like “you can’t do that” or “everyone else has tried and no one has figured it out”. To me, that’s like throwing down the gauntlet and daring me to find a solution.

I'm a sucker for a good whiteboarding session to help identify problems and solve a challenge.

I'm a sucker for a good whiteboarding session. Photo courtesy of RRix on Flickr via Creative Commons.

The funny thing is, while I love to pick apart a problem I’m not usually the person that actually identifies the solution. You see, I’m a connector. I like to bring people together as a team to solve problems. So what I do is call in a group of my smart, talented (and often very nerdy) friends and colleagues and then talk through the challenge. If we think we can solve it, we work at it until we find an angle that no one else has previously explored.  The process usually involves late nights, lots of white boarding, gallons of coffee, and bags of M&Ms. Usually around 3am, in a caffeine and sugar-induced haze, we uncover an opportunity or solution that others haven’t explored.

And that moment when you realize the solution…that “ah-ha” moment. It’s a rush. For a moment, there’s silence as everyone looks at each other to confirm that they just figured it out and then it turns into a crazy, high-fiving, celebratory-dancing, jumping around madhouse….It’s cool.

Do you know the feeling? Have you felt the rush? Do you love carving apart a good challenge? If you’re always looking for a good challenge, then I have an opportunity you’re going to want to check out!

In my day job, I am the Director of Social Media for a digital agency and one of my clients has launched a new challenge to innovators, entrepreneurs, developers, designers…basically anyone with a knack for solving problems.  The program, called the 2012 Data Design Diabetes™ Innovation Challenge is seeking new ideas for the next advancement in Diabetes care that:

  • Improve the outcomes and/or experience of people living with diabetes in the US.
  • Advance the quality, effectiveness, and delivery of diabetes care in the US.
  • Enhance the feeling of control of people within the diabetes ecosystem – from people with diabetes, to caregivers, family/friends, and healthcare providers.
  • Reduce the cost of care without compromising the quality and delivery of care.
  • Create a concept that scales and can be accelerated and distributed with ease.
  • Reflect human-centered design.
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop the concept into an illustrative prototype in one month.

And Sanofi US Diabetes is serious about this challenge! They’re putting up $200,000 in prizes to the teams that submit the most innovative ideas that meet the criteria of the contest! That’s a lot of coffee and M&Ms, not to mention additional opportunities to work with established mentors to develop your idea further and potentially find ways to bring it to fruition. The 2011 winners of the competition,, not only took home a check for $100K, but have currently raised $1.7 M in venture capital due to the exposure their idea received.

Intrigued? Interested? Excited? I encourage anyone with an entrepreneurial or innovative spirit to take a moment and learn more about this challenge. Better yet, share it with your friends and colleagues. Bring together a group of smart, talented individuals to help the diabetes community in their fight against this disease.


For more information about the program, check out the 2012 Data Design Diabetes™ Innovation Challenge website or watch the video below.

Disclosure: As stated previously, the great folks at Sanofi US are my clients. The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and do not represent those of Sanofi US or my employer.

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Comments And Reactions

  1. This is great information, I sure hope people take up the challenge. I have lost many friends to this disease as well as relatives.

  2. bob warren says

    Have a Fantastic Thursday!

  3. John Sullivan says

    I hope Something Magnificant comes of this . I will be thinking about it and Maybe an AHA moment will happen

  4. Gaye Crispin says

    Hi Sean,

    Wow, this is brilliant. It will fascinating to watch what comes out of this. My brain is already ticking. Thank you for making we aware of this.


  5. Gabriel Flores says

    Thanks!! I am a strong proponent that Diabetes is best controlled through eating well and exercising. As an avid marathoner and budding ultra-marathoner, I think that eating and living well have more to say than any medical approach. There are many things in life which people feel they cannot control. However, we can always have a direct say in what we eat and how we use our bodies. There are countless proven regimes out there to facilitate increased health specifically for those with Diabetes. My parents are dealing with it, too. But they live a sedentary life and do not eat well. I believe coming from a place of empowerment and standing for people being their best – and frankly having an inspiring reason to be in good health is critical. Thank you for your stand for people’s well-being, their care and their overall health. Good luck with your programme!

  6. Catherine White says

    Such a great initiative, all the best.

  7. Have a Super Monday and a Fantastic Week!

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