Congratulations to our 2016 winners and finalists!
- PHOTOS: View photos from the 2016 Public Health and Education challenges
- VIDEO: View videos from the 2016 Public Health challenge
IIA: Public Health winners:
Grand Prize, $10,000 AND Audience Choice Award, $1,000: FreshFridge
Reduce food waste: keep your fresh foods from spoiling by using them before their
- Hannah Gordon, School of Public Health
- Jana Stewart, School of Public Health and School of Natural Resources and Environment
- Christina Hecht, School of Public Health and School of Information
- Trevor Dolan, LSA
Second Prize, $7,500: Confluence Health
Optimize community health workers' activities to improve efficiency and community health.
- Leah Abrams, School of Public Health
- Andrew Munfakh, School of Public Health
- Prem Bodagala, School of Information
- Kai Yu, Stamps School of Art and Design
Third Prize, $5,000: Ditto
Connecting individuals living with the same chronic illness to mitigate feelings of
depression and loneliness.
- Parisa Soraya, School of Public Health
- Brianna Wolin, College of Engineering
Public Health finalists also included:
Feed kids healthy foods at the correct portion sizes.
Helping young women make the best contraceptive choices for them.
To read about all the teams that competed this year, visit our Teams page.
Read more about the March Public Health Finals Event...
On Thursday, March 10, 2016, students, faculty, and friends eagerly filed into the Kahn Auditorium at the BSRB to attend the 3rd annual final showcase for the Innovation in Action: Solutions to Public Health Challenges competition.
Innovation in Action is a five-month program established by U-M’s School of Public Health in 2013 to give all U-M students, graduate and undergraduate alike, the opportunity to create innovative, scalable solutions to a Public Health challenge they are passionate about.
Throughout the day, the 12 final teams pitched to a panel of expert judges. The judges selected five teams to pitch in the final public event.
“Anything that is worthwhile is difficult,” SPH Dean Martin Philbert stated in his welcoming remarks. As each team took the stage, it was evident in both the depth of information and the presenters’ enthusiasm that an immense amount of thought, time, and passion went into realizing their visions.
Once the five teams concluded their pitches, the judges selected the $10,000 first-place, $7,500 second-place, and $5,000 third-place competition winners. The audience was also asked to participate by casting votes for the $1,000 Audience Choice Award. While the votes were tallied, the event’s featured speaker, Vic Strecher, Ph.D., MPH, spoke about what he called the subversive nature of innovation. Citing such examples as Carl Jung, Aimee Mullins, and the painter Edgar Degas, Strecher emphasized that creative ideas are not always initially recognized as such, and that innovation can require not only hard work, but often resilience, tenacity, and the desire to do something about their dissatisfaction with status quo.
The message rang true as the competitors anxiously awaited the judges’ decisions:
Third prize in the competition was awarded to Ditto. Ditto is a mobile app connecting individuals living with the same chronic illness to mitigate feelings of depression and loneliness. The two-person team consisting of Parisa Soraya (School of Public Health) and Brianna Wolin (College of Engineering) made an inspiring pitch revealed that Wolin herself manages multiple “invisible” chronic conditions in her everyday life, making a palpable emotional impact on the audience.
Second prize was awarded to Confluence Health, a mobile app to optimize community health workers’ client interactions and improve overall community health. Team members Leah Abrams (School of Public Health), Andrew Munfakh (School of Public Health), Prem Bodagala (School of Information), and Kai Yu (Stamps School of Art and Design) gave an impassioned call to support this often overlooked, on the ground, health provider making the case for the sustainability of their project and its potential to improve health outcomes while reducing the costs of care.
First prize, as well as the Audience Choice Award, went to Fresh Fridge, a mobile app to address the issue of residential food waste in the U.S.. Their app would allow users to scan their grocery receipts and set notifications when items are close to expiration to help avoid spoilage.
Creators of Fresh Fridge Hannah Gordon (School of Public Health), Jana Stewart (School of Public Health and School of Natural Resources and Environment), Christina Hecht (School of Public Health and School of Information), and Trevor Dolan (Literature, Science and the Arts) delivered a lively presentation that nearly everyone present thinking: “I could use that!” Their wonderfully simple, yet impactful and sustainable concept, earned them top recognition from both the judges and the audience. They accepted their checks, and the accompanying Dean Philbert bobble-head, with beaming smiles.
The winners, finalists, and all 12 participating teams deserve congratulations for their hard work and commitment to making the world a healthier place.
Grand Prize, $10,000 AND Audience Choice Award, $1,000: Formativity
Leveraging technology to improve the frequency and quality of formative assessment in early learning environments.
- Megan Blair, Ford School of Public Policy
- Jeff Stern, School of Information
- Sania Zaidi, School of Education
- Brandon Patterson, School of Education and School of Information
Second Prize, $7,500: Hatch
Providing teachers the tools and supports to plan inquiry-based instruction.
- Carolyn Giroux, School of Education
- Brad Cawn, School of Education
- Rebecca Gadd, School of Education
- Crystal Wise, School of Education
Third Prize, $5,000: ProNetwork
Teaching high school students professional skills through a series of interactive modules.
- Sanjay Koduvalli, Ross School of Business
- Isabelle Wong, College of Engineering
- Sabrina Ivanenco, LSA
- Jiten Parbhoo, LSA
- Sarah Tsung, Ross School of Business
To read about all the teams that competed this year, visit our Teams page.
Read more about the March Education Finals Event...
Student teams unveil their projects at the School of Education’s first ever Innovation in Action competition
A web-based learning platform designed to support inquiry-based instruction.
An app that brings entrepreneurs together to build ideas into solutions.
Technology to assist teachers with assessing their students.
A new way to express appreciation to teachers.
A virtual reality app to increase empathy and decrease subconscious biases.
Modules to teach high school students professional skills.
These are the six projects that were presented before an audience of community members and a panel of judges at the first ever education-focused Innovation in Action competition. This competition harnessed the talents of U-M students to address real-world education problems.Equipped with a design thinking and social entrepreneurship toolkit, students identified and worked to address an education challenge. Through the course of a competitive 5-month, transdisciplinary experience, student teams developed their ideas into testable, scalable projects.
Each team discussed how its project was unique and had the potential to be transformational. Teams only had seven minutes to tell the audience and the judges about their concepts, budgets, competitors, timelines, and plans for growth. The judges had an additional eight minutes to fire questions at the students. Please read about the six teams and their ambitious projects.
The five judges who provided feedback to the teams and awarded prizes brought a wide range of knowledge and experience: Jeanne Tayler, Regina Clark McNeil, Jeff Kupperman, Paul Dimond, and JoAnn Chavez.
We are proud to announce the winners, as determined by the judges, as well as the recipient of the audience choice award:
The team Formativity, which builds “stealth assessments” for pre-school age children, won the 1st place prize, which carries with it a $10,000 award. In addition, the audience chose Formativity to receive the Audience Choice Award, and a $1,000 prize.
Hatch, a team composed entirely of SOE graduate students, received the 2nd place award of $7,500 award for their platform designed to support teachers in enacting ambitious teaching.
ProNetwork, which is intended to help high school students develop professional skills necessary for college and career, received 3rd place and a $5,000 award. ProNetwork is a team of undergraduates from all across campus.
As judges mused and finalized their scores, Dr. Barry Fishman presented the night’s keynote talk. Dr. Fishman is an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the School of Information and the School of Education. He spoke on the importance of remembering that technology doesn’t produce good educational experiences on its own. Successful innovation begins with a focus on teaching and learning.
This exciting competition was made possible through collaboration between the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER) and the School of Public Health. The success of this program is thanks to the extraordinary work of Ann Verhey-Henke, Managing Director of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship; Erin Moore, Program Manager from Public Health; Nate Phipps, Managing Director of CEDER; Darin Stockdill, Design Coordinator for CEDER; and Elizabeth Moje, Associate Dean for Research and Community Engagement.
Verhey-Henke said in her address to the student teams, “You give me hope for our future.” The showcase was an opportunity to celebrate the ingenuity of U-M students, recognize the diverse ways to approach educational improvement, and challenge ourselves to pursue entrepreneurism for the benefit of society.
Learn about the winners of the 2014-15 Innovation in Action competition.
Learn about the winners of the 2013-14 Innovation in Action competition.