Tuesday, September 1, 2009

X PRIZE Sponsorship: Team Leaders, Components, and Vendors

The Healthcare X PRIZE contemplates the creation of an innovation ecosystem whereby Team Leaders, Team Components, and PRIZE Vendors compete to win both the larger prize as well as sponsored subprizes.

We continue to receive quite a bit of interest from multiple parties related to the X PRIZE. As the prize continues to work its way through the approval process, a key concept opportunity that continues to emerge relates to sponsorship. WellPoint, as the flagship sponsor, has taken the lead in helping to finance the development of the prize concept and will have their name associated with the prize similar to the Google Lunar X PRIZE and Progressive Auto Prize models. As with both of those prizes, however, there remain a number a "sub-category" or "sub-prize" opportunities. In fact, the ecosystem that can develop from the Healthcare X PRIZE may be one of the most powerful outcomes of the prize process.

As was discussed in the original Design Document, the competition is organized around various teams competing to radically improve the health value delivered to five unique "communities" selected from WellPoint's large employer base. Team leaders will be responsible for paying the registration fee, organizing (identifying, recruiting, signing, and managing) their "team", and then ensuring peak performance from their chosen set of interventions. Many of the additional team members will contribute key point solutions or components that will add significant value to the overall intervention program. We are calling these team members "components" to distinguish them from the Team Leader. Given the different roles, responsibilities, and reporting requirements you can begin to get a gauge of the type of companies and entries who can function as team leaders and who might be able to effectively contribute as component solutions.

In addition to these two entities, there is a notion of tools and technology providers being made available in a equitable way to all entrants in the competition. We are calling companies involved in this way "Vendors" to distinguish their specific role. We are still working out the "rules of engagement" for Vendors, and how we will make their services available in a way that makes sense to everyone, but this has great potential to allow even wider collaboration and participation. Vendors will not be competing for the overall PRIZE purse (at least $10MM), but they may compete for some of the sub prizes that are being contemplated in certain categories of innovation we are interested in incenting (best behavioral modification program, best health finance innovation, best use of personalized dashboard, etc).

This then creates a much wider sponsorship opportunity for those wishing to see specific types of innovation. You can envision which potential companies might want to sponsor particular areas of interest to them, which would create a much more rich and interesting "race" over the three year competition cycle. The singular focus on increasing health care value would be the unifying focus to ensure that the Healthcare X PRIZE does not become disjointed or distracted. Our preliminary conversations with Team Leaders, Team Components, and PRIZE Vendors have all been very positive and reinforced our interest in this line of thinking.

This begs the question - which type of competitor or sponsor are you?
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