Case Studies

How can open innovation accelerate industry transformation?

Luminary Labs designed and managed this first-of-its-kind collaboration between a pharma and a leading accountable care organization, launching a multi-stage open innovation challenge focused on identifying next generation health technology solutions to help patients better manage their chronic disease.

 A Novel Partnership

The Merck | Heritage Provider Network Innovation Challenge was born out of a unique partnership between a leading pharma and an accountable care organization.  As part of the Health Data Challenge Series, the Challenge called on innovators to submit concepts to improve care plan adherence for patients with heart disease and/or diabetes, offering an attractive prize purse of $240K in non-dilutive capital as well as leading industry mentorship and a mini-pilot opportunity.

The Challenge received 90 submissions, from hardware to communications platforms, from which the esteemed panel of judges selected the five most promising solutions to participate as semi-finalists.  On demo day, Semi-finalist teams presented their refined concepts to a standing room only audience at AOL Headquarters in New York, with hundreds more viewing on Livestream.

“The most exciting approaches are those that bring together people who wouldn’t otherwise be working together to actually solve problems.  Today is an exquisite example of that.”  – Sachin Jain, M.D., Merck CMIO at the Merck | HPN Demo Day

Two Finalist teams advanced to a pilot stage, where they engaged directly with patients and clinicians at HPN’s Desert Oasis Healthcare.  The winner, Wellframe, a mobile adherence platform, was announced at the Hx Refactored Conference in Brooklyn, NY.

The Impact

Named a best in class example of open innovation in healthcare, the program helped create new competencies for both sponsors, while acting as a launchpad for the participating teams, many of whom have gone on to commercialize their concepts, forge new partnerships and raise additional rounds of capital.

Followed by media, covered in a blog series on the Huffington Post and widely discussed by industry influencers, this Challenge brought new attention to the challenges faced by adherence, while helping further advance the industry’s most promising solutions.  The Challenge was featured in Forbes, and Luminary Labs’ CEO Sara Holoubek co-authored a piece in the American Journal of Managed Care, discussing how the collaboration can serve as a model for healthcare innovation.  One of the judges, entrepreneur Josh Rosenthal, also comments on how we did it right.



Foundational Strategy
  • Concept generation and validation
  • Partnership development
  • Innovation challenge design
  • Piloting
  • Ideations and workshops
  • Immersive experiences
  • Internal and external crowdsourcing
  • Innovation challenge management
  • Competency building
  • Mentorship
  • Legal considerations
  • Communications and go-to market
  • Product and service development
  • Design, prototyping, and target user validation

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