Health x Design: Building Health into Everyday Life
Design ChallengeMad*Pow and Health 2.0 Advocates held a design challenge in 2019, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We asked the health and design community to envision solutions that reshape everyday life to be healthier by default.
View the Winning Submissions
The focus of this design challenge was to imagine how, in the near future, we might use technology to make health an integral part of our daily routines.
Many attempts to encourage healthy lifestyles rely on prompting people to make healthy decisions in the moment, while doing nothing to address the underlying infrastructure, norms, and culture that guide our behavior. For example, a FitBit might prompt us to take more steps, but it doesn’t touch the transportation infrastructure that makes commuting by car the default choice.
Our environment has made it hard to be healthy, and our health care system can’t keep up. The United States spends far more on health care than any country in the world and yet, in terms of health outcomes, we achieve dismal results. We seek solutions that improve health, not just by focusing on health care and medicine, but also by taking a new look at the fundamentals of our everyday lives.
How might we design the systems we use every day to yield health instead of sickness? Building health into our everyday lives means using design and technology to reshape how we eat, sleep, move from place to place, socialize, and entertain ourselves so that everyone can lead healthier lives by default.
Our panel of judges chose two winning solutions: one design that targets specific healthy behaviors and one design that envisions broad, systemic change.
About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
For more than 45 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working alongside others to build a national Culture of Health that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.
Since 2000, Mad*Pow has leveraged strategic design and the psychology of motivation to create innovative experiences and compelling digital solutions that are good for people and good for business.
About Health 2.0 Advocates
Health 2.0 Advocates Inc is a 501(c)(3) California-based non-profit corporation. Its mission is to support programs and competitions that promote the development of innovative applications and technologies which improve health and wellness and tackle some of the most difficult challenges in health care.
Recognition & Prizes
There are two different prizes available for this challenge:
Winners will receive $5,000 in cash prizes:
- $5,000 – Prize 1: Address a target behavior at the systems level
- $5,000 – Prize 2: Reimagine a system or space
- Honorable Mentions: Entries that do not win but demonstrate a compelling concept or solution may receive an honorable mention.
Winners will be announced on October 16, 2019.
Winners will draw national attention from organizations across health, design, and tech, as well as the press.
Winners will be promoted throughout the Center for Health Experience Design and Mad*Pow networks.
Winners may have the opportunity to work with organizations engaged with the challenge to implement their concepts (in whole or in part) in the real world.
The Advisory Panel will provide assistance to participants on interpreting these criteria. This site will continue to be updated with answers to frequently asked questions and for more information, you can watch a recording of the Q&A webinar.
Each submission will be evaluated by the Challenge Advisory Panel for the extent to which the concept meets the evaluation criteria. This information will be shared with the Challenge Judges for final review and selection.
Meet Our Judges
Allison ArieffEditorial Director, San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), and contributing columnist to the New York Times since 2006
Stacey ChangExecutive Director of the Design Institute for Health, a collaboration between the Dell Medical School and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin
Feasible within 5 to 10 years
Solutions are speculative: unconstrained by current technology platforms, existing infrastructure, and social norms, yet not in the realm of science fiction, meaning they do not require major scientific and technological breakthroughs. Solutions may require infrastructural changes, like street design, or public policy changes, like zoning regulations. You may incorporate emerging technology, such as robotics or 5G networks. Show what could be, given what we know today and where we’re heading.
Change the environment to a healthier default
Instead of prompting people to overcome the biases toward unhealthy choices that we commonly see in our environment today, aim for solutions that change the environment. For example, posters in an office building might remind employees to take the stairs, while new building requirements encourage architects to design appealing and accessible stairways that make physical activity the default option.
Incorporate multiple parts of a system
Solutions span a smartphone, a connected bicycle, and sensors embedded in the environment; or an autonomous vehicle, alternative fuels, and a school district. Consider how we might redesign or augment analog objects or systems that affect our health. Be sure to address challenges and obstacles to changing these systems at the technical, corporate, and policy levels.
Additional criteria for Prize 1: Healthy behaviors
Solutions submitted for this track should target at least one healthy behavior. We ask applicants to consider how the solution impacts the other healthy behaviors.
- More movement. Reduce sedentary behavior; facilitate more physical movement. Rather than “exercise” or workouts, make movement a by-product of daily activities — going to work, going to school, running errands, getting food, socializing, and having fun.
- Better food. Make it easier, more rewarding, and delightful to cook meals with fresh ingredients. Consider how people decide what to cook and the process of preparing a meal.
- Better sleep. How could technology be used to influence better sleep habits, longer and higher quality sleep? Focus on creating conditions conducive to better sleep.
- Quality social connection. Make it easier to develop deep friendships and to spend good time with friends, family, and neighbors.
- More time outdoors. Propose creative ways to make spending time outdoors more desirable for everyone and safer for more people.
Additional criteria for Prize 2: Reimagine a system or space
Designs in this track should provide a compelling overall vision for how health can be built into everyday life. We seek solutions that fundamentally reshape transportation, housing, food, office space, entertainment—any system(s) or space(s) that might pave the way for healthier behavior.
Have a Question?
We are here to help.
We’ve provided the below FAQs to support your efforts with the design challenge, but please feel free to also send questions via email.
Why should I enter?
To make the world a better place, of course! To tackle a compelling problem. To get lots of eyes on your brilliant designs. And for the chance to take home up to $10,000 in prizes.
Who is eligible to participate?
Refer to Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Terms & Conditions on the challenge website: The Challenge is open to teams and individuals. You can read more details about this in the Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Competition on the challenge website (Section II, Part B in the Terms and Conditions).
Can international students participate?
Only US Citizens/Permanent Residents may be a named member of the team due to restrictions on awarding prize money. International students may participate as unofficial team members and have their name included in the submission as an additional contributor. We understand that international students will want to showcase their contributions as part of their portfolio.
What do I submit?
A complete submission contains four parts. All parts should be submitted via public links in the submission form.
- Written design brief (up to 2,250 words). Describe the solution, the track it belongs to, and how it meets the entry criteria. This is your chance to explain all the details.
- Brief video (up to 3 minutes long). Show us what your solution looks like in practice. We want to see the value of your design (think Kickstarter).
- Visual compositions of the solution. Use sketches, digital visual designs, or photography to explain your solution visually. Your visualization may take the form of a narrative—such as a story board or cartoon—or it may be more abstract, such as a diagram or a model.
- Timeline for the next 5 to 10 years. Clarify the scope of your solution using a 5- to 10-year timeline that shows your early thoughts about key partnerships and activities that would need to happen to make this solution a reality.
When is the submission deadline?
August 31, 2019 at 11:59 PM EDT
Can I submit my design after the deadline?
No. So don’t procrastinate! We want to see your amazing work.
Can I send an updated design after the deadline?
Nope. You’ve only got one chance, so make it count.
How do I submit my design?
If you’d like to participate, we request that you inform us of your intent to participate. This ensures an adequate number of reviewers and allows us to send timely reminders as the submission deadline approaches. The intent to participate is non-binding–submitting the form does not obligate you to submit a design.
How will you judge the submissions?
We’re giving out two prizes. Both will be evaluated using a scorecard against a shared set of core criteria as well as a track-specific set of additional criteria. An advisory panel will review all the submissions and make recommendations to our judges. These judges will do their own review and then select our challenge winners.
Are there only two prizes?
There are only two cash prizes. We’ll also be giving out Honorable Mentions for entries that are outstanding in specific focus areas. If you have a specific passion or area of interest, feel free to focus your efforts on that. (e.g., reducing food insecurity in urban environments.)
How speculative can my design be?
You can completely reinvent processes and systems, rethink collaboration, and re-envision the intersection of technology, government, and workplaces (to name a few). Assume that current and emerging technologies can work together reliably and seamlessly. This is not science fiction—show us how your design is feasible within the next 5 to 10 years.
Do I have to be part of a design team to submit my design?
No. The Challenge is open to teams and individuals. You can read more details about this in our Terms and Conditions.
I don’t know anything about designing for health. Where do I start?
Every human-centered design project begins with research, and this one is no different. We’ve gotten the ball rolling for you with a wealth of resources. Of course, to make this truly human-centered, you need to involve users in some aspect of your design process. Make your designs with them or run your designs by them, it’s up to you. The more human involvement, the better.
What is the difference between the content in the video and the content in the written submission? Are you looking for something different?
The video will be more concise than the written explanation. The video will focus on the story of how the submission works and how it addresses key issues and evaluation criteria. The written explanation provides more opportunity for detail.
Can the design brief include graphics or can I only use words?
The design brief provides an opportunity for you to describe the concept in detail, the design principles it follows and how it meets the evaluation criteria. It should not exceed 2,250 words and you are permitted to use graphics to supplement the written explanation.
Are all 4 submission components (written brief, video, visual composition, and timeline) required for both prizes?
The same 4 submission components can be submitted for both prizes as long as it is made clear in those submission components how the submission meets the evaluation criteria for both. You may also submit a different set of components for each prize.
If an innovation is developed that applies to both tracks, can it be presented as one product via one submission?
While the same submission components can be submitted for both prizes, it must be made clear in those submission components how the submission meets the evaluation criteria for both. If your team feels that your solution meets all the core criteria, all the criteria for Track 1 and all the criteria for Track 2, you can submit the same design brief, video, visual composition and timeline entry twice to be considered for both prizes. Alternatively, when submitting your work you could modify the components for each prize to emphasize how your work meets that specific criteria. We encourage the latter approach as it will help the judges understand why they should consider your submission for both prizes.
How market-ready do solutions need to be?
Solutions do not need to be market-ready, but we seek ideas for how they may be implemented. The timeline component of the solution should provide some early thoughts about how the solution may become reality.
How will my work be used?
The purpose of this challenge is to stimulate innovation and make health a core value in technology. We’ll be creating a gallery of all the submissions. Your work will live in this gallery, where we hope it will inspire everyone who sees it. It may also be used in marketing and advertising, now and in the future.
Who owns my design after I submit it?
Upon submission, contestants warrant that they are the sole author and owner of the Challenge Submission, and that the submission completely originates with the contestant, that it does not infringe upon any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which contestant(s) is aware, and is free of malware. You can read more details about this in our Terms and Conditions.
I have more questions. Who can I talk to?
Feel free to send questions via email.
- Where is the recording of the Q&A webinar?
How To Enter
Please link to all submission component files. Judges will use these links to view your submission documents.
Written design brief
(up to 2,250 words)
Describe the solution, the track it belongs to, and how it meets the entry criteria. This is your chance to explain all the details.
(up to 3 minutes long)
Show us what your solution looks like in practice. We want to see the value of your design (think Kickstarter).
Visual compositions of the solution
Use sketches, digital visual designs, or photography to explain your solution visually. Your visualization may take the form of a narrative—such as a story board or cartoon—or it may be more abstract, such as a diagram or a model.
Timeline for the next 5 to 10 years
Clarify the scope of your solution using a 5- to 10-year timeline that shows your early thoughts about key partnerships and activities that would need to happen to make this solution a reality.
Intent to Participate
We request that you inform us of your intent to participate in this challenge. The intent to participate is non-binding—submitting the form does not obligate you to submit a design. We are looking to get insight into how many submissions to expect and plan our review process accordingly. We will also be hosting a Challenge Q&A and want to ensure that you are notified for the event.
If you’d like to participate in the Health by Design: Building health into our everyday lives, pre-registration is the first step. Once you’ve pre-registered, we will send reminders on due dates and any other important information.
Models for visualizing complex thinking
Using sketching to communicate ideas
Human-centered design guidelines
An introduction to transition design and the role designers play in societal transitions to more sustainable futures
Transitional design case study with visual examples
"Temporal scope" timeline example from the case study above
Transitional design case study template
Video: Designing Everyday Life to be Healthier
It's Time to Build Health Into the OS
Insert [Health], a partnership between IDEO.org and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Efforts in cities to get residents outdoors in the winter
Lyft pilot program to improve integration of different modes of transportation