Innovation Challenge Blog

Road to Demo Day: A Look Inside the Innovator’s Bootcamp

With Demo Day less than a week away, the Sanofi US 2013 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge – Prove It! finalist teams are busy at work, refining their solutions as they compete to win the $100,000 grand prize. The weeks leading up to the teams’ presentations are filled with carefully planned activities – including mentorship, design immersion, empathy development, and business speed dating – to ensure that each team achieves its maximum potential before revealing its solution at Health Datapalooza in Washington, DC.

One of the most valuable aspects of Data Design Diabetes is the opportunity for the finalists to work with a team of expert mentors to hone their solutions leading up to Demo Day. The finalists also attended an Innovators’ Bootcamp for three immersive days of rapid iteration with a focus on human-centered design.

From April 26 – 28, the finalists gathered in San Francisco to participate in a series of workshops and presentations. The weekend kicked off with several exercises to encourage teams to think critically about different methodologies that incorporate empathy and human-centered approaches into product design, and to ask the right questions to identify the best features for an ideal user experience. Members of each team worked in pairs and small groups during these activities, enabling all of the finalist teams to interact with each other, and exposing everyone to different perspectives.

Participants also had the opportunity to hear from design experts and people living with diabetes. The speakers shared insight into the best ways to incorporate data and design to advance their products; Jennifer van der Meer (Luminary Labs) explained how to translate knowledge into action, highlighting the fact that “data is not a business model,” and David Fore (Lybba), a leader in interaction design, talked about the importance of the design process in advancing healthcare. During several poignant sessions, people living with diabetes relayed their experiences about their everyday realities and the biggest challenges they face in managing diabetes.

Finally, the teams took part in a round-robin exercise, during which each team met with an adviser for 20 minutes to discuss their concept and receive feedback, before moving on to the next adviser. Teams were quick to incorporate the feedback from one adviser into their pitch with the next. After the round-robin, the teams gave a final presentation to the entire group, during another interactive feedback session.

In just a short period of time, the teams made tremendous progress in developing their concepts. Despite the fact that the finalists are ultimately competing for the grand prize, it was incredible to witness the sense of community developed among the teams in the spirit of entrepreneurship.

All the hard work pays off on June 3, 2013! Join us in Washington, DC or tune in to to watch the finalist teams present their concepts to the judges on the mainstage of Health Datapalooza IV.