Designing for Better Health

Competition Information

Competition News

Winners Announced! The three winners will each receive a prize of USD $5000.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in the competition! We encourage you to read and comment on all entries and share your feedback.

Welcome Letter

Dear Changemakers community,

Welcome to “Designing for Better Health.” This is the fourth in a series of Changemakers’s collaborative competitions sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through its Pioneer Portfolio.

RWJF’s mission is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We address a range of pressing issues including: reversing the rise in childhood obesity rates; improving the quality of care; raising the visibility, effectiveness, and readiness of the public health system; and ensuring affordable health care coverage for all Americans. The Pioneer Portfolio supports innovative ideas and projects with the potential to lead to significant breakthroughs in the future of health and health care. It is a distinct pool of funding within RWJF to support novel, high-return ideas that may have far-reaching impact on people’s health, the quality of care they receive and the systems through which that care is provided. You can learn more about our work at

It is our hope that the projects entered in the “Designing for Better Health” competition demonstrate novel and effective approaches that make it easier for people to make choices and change their behavior to improve their health. We are pleased to be able to partner with Changemakers on this competition on designing choices for better health because we believe that the interest and need for new approaches to improving choices is global. This competition is intended to offer you the opportunity to showcase your ideas and your work, and it provides RWJF a uniquely valuable and rich opportunity to learn about what solutions hold promise.

As a part of the Changemakers global community, we want you to help test and refine the ideas surfacing through this competition – we call your attention to the online review option that accompanies each entry, and invite you to share your thoughts and reactions throughout the stages of the competition. This level of collaboration is what will help to surface new innovations and connect participants to new ideas, partners, and resources. We also invite you to join the on-line discussion about what constitutes “nudges” for health and at what stage in the idea process they can be identified and nurtured. We look forward to participating with you in an active, dynamic exchange of ideas.


Paul Tarini

Team Director, Pioneer Portfolio

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Competition Guidelines & Criteria

Welcome to the “Designing for Better Health” collaborative competition, which aims to find innovative solutions and catalyze a community of changemakers around “nudges”—innovative little pushes—that help people make better decisions regarding their own health and the health of others.

For more information on entering the competition, the online review of entries, and the voting process, please view the competition criteria and timeline below or contact us at

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all types of organizations (charitable organizations, private companies, or public entities) from all countries. We consider all entries that:

• Reflect the theme of the competition: Designing for Better Health. Entries will demonstrate innovative solutions around creating opportunities that allow people to make better decisions regarding their own health and the health of others.

• Indicate growth beyond the stage of idea, concept, or research. At a minimum, entries should be at the demonstration stage and indicate success. While we support new ideas at every stage and encourage their entry, the judges are only able to evaluate programs that are beyond the conceptual stage, and have demonstrated a proof of impact, even at small scale.

• Are submitted in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

Please complete the entire entry form and submit before the deadline.

Assessment Criteria

The winners of this Changemakers collaborative competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:

• Innovation: This is the knock-out test. The entrant must describe a systematic and/or disruptive innovation that encourages choices to promote healthy living. The innovation should be a unique model of change, demonstrating a substantial difference from other initiatives in the field and ready for large-scale expansion.

• Social Impact: It is important that the innovation provides a solution toward increasing financial security for everyone. The entry must demonstrate impact on the target population it addresses, either a specific underserved community or the society at large. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level, while others will have grown to engage millions of people. Regardless of the level of demonstrated impact, it is important that the innovation has a potential for application globally. This will be judged by considering the innovation's potential for scale and replication, in addition to the entrant’s ability to formulate a clear “road map” to reaching larger goals.

• Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective it must have a long-term plan for securing financial backing and community support. Entries should describe not only how they are currently financing their work, but also how they plan to finance their work in the future. The most successful entrants go beyond discussing whether or not they will charge for services and describe a business plan. They should also demonstrate that they have strong partnerships and support networks to address an ongoing need, and to aid in scalability and the maintenance of a clear financial strategy.

Competition Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

Online competition submissions are accepted until April 1, 2008 at 6 pm, U.S. Eastern Standard Time. At any time before this deadline competition participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the Changemakers discussion. Participation in the discussion enhances an entrant’s prospects in the competition and provides the community and the judges an opportunity to understand the entrant’s project more completely.

There are three main phases in the competition:

Entry Stage, January 14th – April 1st, 2009: Entries can be submitted until 6 pm US Eastern Standard Time on April 1, 2009 and throughout this stage anyone can participate in an online review discussion with the entrants.

Online Review and Judging, April 2nd – May 8th, 2009: Online review and discussion continues. Simultaneously, a panel of judges who are experts in the field and a team of Ashoka staff select the competition finalists.

Voting May 11th – May 22th, 2009: The Changemakers community votes online to select the three award-winners from the field of finalists. The Changemakers Collaborative Competition winners—the three finalists that receive the most votes—will be announced on June 1, 2009 and will each receive a cash prize of USD $5000.

Participation in the competition provides the opportunity to receive feedback on your blueprint from fellow entrants, Changemakers staff, judges, and the Changemakers community. Showcasing your blueprint and the challenges involved in creating social impact advises potential investors about how best to improve funding/investing patterns for the sector and to maximize the strategic impact and effectiveness of their future investments.


Early Entry Prize: The best entry submitted by 6:00 p.m. EST, Feb. 18, 2009 will win a camcorder and digital camera (Equal value of USD $1000). Being an Early Entry Prize winner does not preclude you from winning the competition in any way, or guarantee finalist status—all entries will be equally evaluated per the Changemakers criteria at the completion of the entry period.

Competition Winners: The top three entries will win USD $5000 each. After the judges select the 10-15 finalists from the entire competition, the Changemakers online community will vote for 3 winners from among the finalists.

Disclaimer—Compliance with Legal Restrictions

Ashoka complies fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Ashoka will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards in certain countries and/or to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Ashoka to violate any laws. Additionally, Ashoka will not make any grant to a company involved in the promotion of tobacco use.

Judges Panel

Brian Wansink

Professor of Marketing, Cornell University

H. Carrie Chen

Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco

Jose Gomez-Marquez

Program Director, Innovations in International Health @ MIT

Paul Tarini

Team Director, Pioneer Portfolio, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Wellington Nogueira Santos

Founder and General Coordinator, Doutores Da Alegria (Doctors of Joy)