Open Innovation


Since 2011, our open innovation practice has awarded over $4,500,000 in non-dilutive cash prizes, as well as non-monetary awards, to innovators who address complex problems while stimulating a larger conversation with the public at large.

With roots in the private sector, our open innovation clientele now includes the U.S. Department of Education (ED), NASA (Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, NASA Tournament Lab), the EPA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Partnership for Freedom (a public-private partnership between Humanity United, HHS, the Department of Justice, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor).

Luminary Lightbox™, our proprietary open innovation platform, marries a highly engaging front-end digital experience with powerful back-end submission management functionality, including eligibility verification, IP management, and judging.

Featured Challenges

CTE Makeover Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education called on high schools to design makerspaces that strengthen next-generation career and technical skills. Makerspaces provide students the materials and environment they need to create, invent, tinker, and explore, helping them build vital career skills. Nearly 650 schools from all 50 states and Washington, D.C. entered the Challenge, and participated in the CTE Makeover Challenge Bootcamp to finalize their makerspace designs. 10 prize winners were announced at the White House during the 2016 National Week of Making.

Total Prize Pool: $575,000

Reach Higher Career App Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education and the White House called upon app developers, educators, and data mavens to submit mobile solutions that will help students navigate education and career pathways. The First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative is an effort to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school.

Total Prize Pool: $465,000

Rethink Supply Chains

Rethink Supply Chains: The Tech Challenge to Fight Labor Trafficking called upon innovators to submit concepts for technological solutions that identify and address labor trafficking in global supply chains. The Challenge was launched by the Partnership for Freedom, a public-private partnership led by Humanity United, in collaboration with the Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of State, and the Department of Labor.

Total Prize Pool: $500,000

Ed Prizes

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is joining forces with America’s solvers through a series of prize competitions to help students compete in our global economy. Through these innovation challenges, ED seeks to spur the development of new technology, products, and resources that will prepare students for the high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand occupations of tomorrow.

2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge

While the American food supply is among the safest in the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans is sickened by foodborne illness annually, resulting in about 3,000 deaths each year. The 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge called on scientists, academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators from all disciplines to submit concepts applying novel and/or advanced methodologies to foster revolutionary improvements in foodborne pathogen detection.

Total Prize Pool: $500,000

Merck | Heritage Provider Network Innovation Challenge

The Merck | Heritage Provider Network Innovation Challenge called on entrepreneurs, data scientists, designers, healthcare providers, and big thinkers to create products or services that support patients with diabetes and/or heart disease in adhering to their care plans.

Total Prize Pool: $240,000

Data Design Diabetes Challenge Series

The Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenges were conceptualized as a new way to combat diabetes by integrating open data with human-centered design. These three Challenges were designed and structured to engage technology entrepreneurs in a competitive framework while providing mentorship and education around deep patient-centric issues to bring about game-changing solutions.

Total Prize Pool: $220,000

PiPH Collaborate | Innovate Innovation Challenge

The Collaborate | Innovate Challenge called on non-profit patient, provider, and professional associations to partner with other associations and/or academic institutions to propose new approaches for translating patient insights into improvements in the drug development process.

Total Prize Pool: $100,000

PiPH Collaborate | Activate Innovation Challenge

The Collaborate | Activate Innovation Challenge was launched in 2012 to promote collaboration between key patient influencers to identify novel approaches that would better engage patients in their own health.

Total Prize Pool: $500,000