Open Innovation

Since 2011, our open innovation practice has awarded over $5,000,000 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.

We surveyed 60 prize recipients (including semi-finalists, finalists, and winners) of 14 large-scale, multistage challenges we ran on behalf of government, nonprofit, or private sector clients from 2011 through 2017 — View the highlights.

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.

Hidden Signals Challenge

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate calls upon data innovators from a wide variety of fields to develop concepts for novel uses of existing data that will identify signals and achieve timelier alerts for biothreats in our cities and communities. Successful concepts will explore connections between multiple readily-accessible data sources to develop real-time insights that can improve public safety responses to emerging biothreats. The judges are currently evaluating Stage 1 submissions.


Learn more

Alexa Diabetes Challenge

The Alexa Diabetes Challenge called on innovators to create Alexa voice-enabled solutions to improve the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. Successful solutions leveraged a larger world of supporting technology, from applications to databases and cloud services. By tapping into this digital ecosystem, the universe of possibilities expands, and with it the potential to transform diabetes self-management and improve the lives of millions of people. The Challenge announced Sugarpod by Wellpepper as the $125,000 grand prize winner.

Learn more

EdSim Challenge

The U.S. Department of Education called on the virtual reality, video game developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century. Successful simulations paired the engagement of commercial games with rigorous educational content that strengthens academic, technical, and employability skills. The Challenge announced Osso VR as the $430,000 grand prize winner.


Mood Challenge for ResearchKit

The Mood Challenge for ResearchKit, a New Venture Fund program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and powered by Luminary Labs, called on researchers, technologists, and data scientists to submit proposals for ResearchKit studies that will further our understanding of mood and how it relates to our daily lives, health, and well-being. Apple’s ResearchKit is an open source software framework that turns the iPhone into a powerful tool for medical research by helping doctors, scientists, and other researchers gather data more frequently and accurately from participants anywhere in the world. The Challenge announced BiAffect as the $200,000 grand prize winner.


Ed Prizes

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


PiPH Collaborate | Innovate 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.


PiPH Collaborate | Activate 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.