Target To Award $50K In Health Care Idea Contest

The retail giant recently launched a nationwide challenge for students, innovators, designers, and entrepreneurs to submit ideas that promote a healthy lifestyle and help people with chronic conditions.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation has launched a contest for innovators, entrepreneurs, and other individuals to develop ideas that address pressing health care issues that the retailer may then implement in its stores and on its website.
The Target Simplicity Challenge is two-fold: One category is for ideas that promote a positive lifestyle and preventative measures, and another is for ideas that help individuals with chronic conditions.
Target spokeswoman Erin Conroy told Twin Cities Business that this is the first contest the retailer has launched in the health care realm. She said that Target is seeking health care solutions that are easily obtainable and easily understood by customers. Conroy said Target is interested in straightforward submission ideas, citing Target’s existing pharmacy rewards program as an example of an easy-to-understand solution.
“We want simpler ideas that are engaging and accessible,” Conroy said.
Participants in the challenge have until October 24 to submit their ideas, at which point a panel of Target executives will choose eight finalists. The panel will judge those finalists—four from each of the two categories—on the originality, creativity, and compelling nature of their ideas. The panel will also consider a public vote in its decision process. A panel of 11 health care industry experts—including Medtronic Vice President of Human Resources Jim McDermid, UnitedHealth Group Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Richard Migloiori, and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta—will select two grand prize winners (one from each category) who will each receive $25,000 in cash and a partnership opportunity with Target through which the retailer may implement the winning ideas in Target stores and online.

Conroy said that once the contest has ended, Target will discuss the feasibility of implementing the ideas with the winners. If Target is unable to bring the idea to life, she said, the hope is that it would appear elsewhere in the health care industry.
“The Target Simplicity Challenge is designed to give visibility to those seemingly small, simple ideas that can have a big impact,” José Barra, senior vice president of health and beauty for Target, said in a statement
Target announced the Simplicity Challenge on Monday at the Mayo Clinic Transform Conference in Rochester. The conference was one of a few this year in which Target participated—others include the medical technology and health care conference TED Med and the global health care conference World Health Care Congress.
“As a retailer serving millions of guests and an employer of more than 361,000 team members, Target recognizes the growing concern over health care in the U.S. and strives to be a positive part of the solution,” Barra said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Target collaborated with Fast Company magazine for the Co.Labs & Target Retail Accelerator contest, which called on developers to create a mobile app or mobile website for Target. The retailer and magazine awarded the $75,000 prize to Team Pilot—a New York-based group of digital developers and advertising agency co-workers—for its Divvy app. The app allows a group of users to divide up a bill, share receipts, keep track of shared transaction history, and earn rewards points.