One of the most popular ways to promote innovation in technology fields — from space travel to healthcare — is to offer a competition with prize money and other benefits awarded to the winners. One such competition is the HITLAB World Cup, which aims to promote healthcare products that meet unmet needs. This is truly a worldwide competition, with regional events to be held in Ghana, India, and the Netherlands, as well as the international finals to be held in New York City in December 2015.
Three winners will share $18,000 in prize money, as well as an expense-paid trip to New York for the finalist event. Applications will be judged based on the impact, innovation, sustainability, and feasibility of the product or system. Applications can be based on an idea that can be at any stage of development, but the entry must include a prototype or proof-of-concept. The entry must also include a business plan. The organizers hope to attract innovators in design, medicine, and technology for the competition. Products can be for developing countries or mature markets, and can cover the range from mobile health to diagnostics to improved healthcare delivery.
The prize money is not a lot in a world where Kickstarter campaigns can raise a $100,000 in hours, but the winners will also gain access to industry contacts who presumably will help find funding sources and other resources. At the very least, placing in one of the top three spots will give an entrant more credibility with potential investors.