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Five Years of Open Innovation at Infoway: Five Challenge Types to Drive Innovation

Posted on July 5, 2016 by Fraser Ratchford

In a previous post , we discussed the numerous reasons you may benefit from running an open innovation challenge. Now that you have your reasons, it’s time to choose the challenge type that will allow you to encourage the kind of innovation you’re looking for.

We’re in our 5th year of running innovation challenges at Canada Health Infoway, and over those 5 years we’ve hosted 10 challenges. Each has been different, addressing a distinct challenge question and motivation, but they each fall into one of five broad types.


imagination challenges 3 en


We’ve described these types on the infographic above. Some of these types are more well-known, such as “Build”, where participants are challenged to build a prototype or application that solves a particular problem. Yet, challenges of this sort can also be used to build community, such as the ImagineNation Patient Impact Challenge, which collected stories from across Canada about how digital health made an impact. And multiple challenge types can be combined into a single challenge, such as the Data Impact Challenge II, which used “Ideation” to crowdsource questions that needed answers, and “Analysis/Open Data” to yield the answers.

To see more examples of Challenges, visit the ImagineNation Challenges website. Maybe you’ll find a challenge that is just your type.

This blog series was produced to help celebrate ImagineNation Challenges 5th Anniversary. This is the third of seven blogs. To view other blogs in this series, click here.

Have a comment about this post? We’d love to hear from you.

fratchford 240Fraser Ratchford is a Senior Director at Canada Health Infoway and works with Infoway’s partners to electronically connect citizens to their health information, to their care team, and to other virtual health services and tools. Prior to his role at Infoway, Fraser held a number of leadership positions in health care. His major focus over the past 30 years has been digital health, working in various sectors including government, hospital and public health.


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