Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders

Innovations for Health

Solutions that Cross Borders

Competition Information

Competition News

Ashoka Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio are seeking health care solutions from anywhere in the world that have the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care.

Winners Announced! Three winners will each receive a prize of US $10,000.

You may continue to read and comment on all entries. As always, we welcome your feedback.

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Welcome Letter

Dear Changemakers Community,

Countries throughout the world are seeking to improve the health of their citizens and make quality health care accessible and affordable. Despite their differences, nations are facing a surprisingly similar set of health care challenges, such as fragmented health care ecosystems, high costs, inconsistent quality of care, inefficient systems, and barriers to access and capacity needs.

In response to these challenges, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio is partnering with Ashoka Changemakers to launch the competition, Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders.

We are looking for cutting-edge health care solutions from anywhere in the world that have the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care.

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, we have the vital opportunity to learn from innovations developed beyond our borders. Examples of breakthrough innovations we’d like to see include (but are not limited to) those that:

  • Deploy the full spectrum of health care workers and providers, thereby improving the capacity, reach, and quality of health care services;
  • Use simple, low-cost interventions to improve medical, preventive, and dental care;
  • Help people find and access the health information, services, and providers they need through new tools and processes;
  • Provide high quality and personalized care in non-traditional settings; and
  • Find new ways to engage patients in their care, particularly patients with chronic illnesses.

We are looking for initiatives that have demonstrated impact, and we are particularly interested in those that have the potential to help vulnerable and underserved populations in other countries that are experiencing similar barriers to health. It’s time to learn from one another and to build bridges toward a more accessible, cost-effective, consumer-engaged, and outcome-driven system of health services.

In addition, following the Changemakers competition, selected entries may be invited to submit proposals to RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio for future funding consideration. The Foundation will be looking for innovations that show potential to produce significant improvement in health and health care in the United States. Only organizations in the United States and its territories are eligible for this post-competition funding opportunity.

Innovate. Collaborate. Be a Changemaker. Submit or nominate a solution today.

Guidelines, Criteria & Prizes


Who should enter:

If you are an innovator with a health care solution that has the potential to be applied in other countries to improve health and health care, we want to hear from you! We welcome entries from any country. We are looking for initiatives that have demonstrated impact and help vulnerable and underserved populations. Entries are accepted in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

Why you should enter:

  • Connect to a global online community that supports the impact you are making, or seeking to make, on the ground.
  • Gain visibility with our community and our competition partner, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Have the opportunity to win cash awards.

What you can win:

  • One of three US $10,000 cash prizes in unrestricted funding to boost your project.
  • One of two US $500 cash prizes in addition to a private consulting session with industry experts (if you enter before December 12, 2011 and are chosen as one of the two early entry prize winners).

How to enter:

  • Take a look at this video or these step-by-step instructions for guidance.
  • Read through these tips about how to make your entry stand out.
  • Read the Guidelines & Criteria below to help you learn more about how your entry can win.

Competition Guidelines

Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders is open to all individuals, teams, and organizations (public or private entities). This global competition welcomes entries that:

  • Reflect the theme of the challenge: Innovations for Health: Solutions that Cross Borders. The aim of the competition is to identify health care innovations that have the potential to be adapted and applied in different countries experiencing similar barriers to health.
  • Have a proven success on some level, with the potential to scale; or indicate a path for growth beyond the conceptual stage and have already demonstrated impact and sustainability.
  • Are submitted in English, French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Please complete the entire entry form and enter by 5pm EST, February 13, 2012. All decisions of the judges will be final.

Assessment Criteria

Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio are interested in a variety of approaches that address the challenge of Innovations for Health. The winning entries will best meet the following criteria:

  • Innovation: This is the knock-out test. Does the innovation clearly reflect the ability to systemically transform health and health care by focusing on greater simplicity, lower cost, easier access, higher quality, efficiency, or enhanced convenience of services to more empowered and informed consumers? Your entry should describe a new approach to solving a particular problem. The innovation should be a unique model of change that demonstrates a substantial difference from other initiatives in the field.

    Innovations for Health especially seeks solutions that can be applied in other countries to improve health and health care. Innovation is spurred by different income levels, infrastructure, and local health marketplaces, allowing countries to skip over phases of technological development and to evolve improved delivery models, more holistic service ecosystems, and creative add-on applications. We seek innovative answers to global challenges.

  • Social Impact: The competition is looking for breakthrough innovations that have the potential to catalyse exponential change in health and health care. Some innovations will have proven success at a small level, while others may have already engaged millions of people in communities around the world.
  • Sustainability: For an innovation to be truly effective, it must have both a model of sustainable impact and a viable organization. Innovations will be judged on their long-term vision for increasing impact and creating lasting change. Entrants should describe the current environment in which they are operating and the challenges and opportunities present within it. The most successful entrants go beyond discussing whether or not they will charge for services and describe a business plan. They also demonstrate that they have strong partnerships and support networks to address an on-going 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 5PM EST on February 13, 2012. At any time before this deadline, competition participants are encouraged to revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive independently or via public comments on the Changemakers online forum. Online participation provides the community and the judges an opportunity to understand the entrant’s project more completely. We encourage entrants to review comments, expert commentary, and other resources, and to update their entries accordingly.

Judges Panel

Adam Dole

Business Planning Manager, Mayo Clinic

Al Hammond

Senior Entrepreneur, Ashoka, Full Economic Citizenship Program

Bob Kocher

Partner, Venrock

Deborah Bae

Program Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Edna Kissmann

Co-Founder, Kissmann Langford Consulting