THE WINNERS of the 2010 DiabetesMine™ Design Challenge

A huge thank you and congratulations to all who participated in our 2010 open innovation contest! Once again we feel that this effort is an example of “crowdsourcing” at its best — asking the community for its brightest concepts to help improve life with diabetes.

This year we received more than 130 unique submissions. Dozens of those were from university students, studying Design, Medicine, Sports Medicine, Engineering, Chemical and Mechanical Engineering and more. In particular, we saw heavy participation from Design students, based in the US, and Europe and Asia as well.




Participating institutions included (in alphabetical order):

  • Aston University (UK)
  • Carnegie Melon University
  • Grinnell College (Iowa)
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Montclair State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio Northern University (ONU)
  • Ohio State University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Stanford University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Pennsylvania / School of Medicine
  • University of Singapore

A pretty nice lineup!

In addition, there were more than 20 entrants who identified themselves as “Professional Designers,” and about 18 who placed themselves in the “Entrepreneur/Start-up Company” category. This is of course in addition to the many engineers, tinkerers, patients, parents and caregivers who poured their hearts into creative new ideas.

The challenge for our Judging Team this year was to balance the sometimes competing concepts of “great design” versus “innovation.”  Do we rate beauty and aesthetics over feasibility of the product idea to actually work and come to market? And what about its potential impact: Do we honor a great solution for a niche market, or look only for things that broadly impact as many people’s lives as possible?

Following a very lively 3-hour debate session, I am pleased to announce that our Grand Prize winners this year span the gamut of these concerns.

Without further ado, please meet the winners:



GRAND PRIZE WINNERS (3)

* Winners are listed in alphabetical order*

{Prize package: $7,000 in cash, plus complementary consulting with IDEO Design Health & Wellness experts, and one free access ticket to the October 2010 Health 2.0 Conference}

Finn is a bright and appealing PlaySkool-like glucose monitor for small children. The design received an overwhelming number of popular votes here on the blog. With its big, easy buttons and oh-so-cute matching nautical case, it’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder, “Why isn’t there already a product on the market like this for little kids with diabetes?”

The judges agreed that Finn the Glucose Fish is a clever practical solution to the problem of how to make glucose testing more appealing to children.

Not only that, but our IDEO judge felt that Finn creates the basis for a full platform of products that could engage children: a variety of characters, with ever-new interactive features. In other words, you could build a system around it.

Congratulations to University of Cincinnati design student Samantha Gustafson for her winning design!




Test Drive is a concept for a driving safety system that would prevent diabetics from getting behind the wheel with too-low blood sugar. We judges felt this concept had a huge potential impact in the lives of many with diabetes:

- preventing teenagers (or any PWDs) from hurting themselves or others due to hypoglycemia

- helping PWDs apply for jobs that require driving, like truck drivers or delivery services, or even positions as airline pilots, which may now be off-limits to PWDs due to fears of hypoglycemia

- providing documentation for insurance and other liability issues in the form of data proving reasonable blood sugar levels before setting out in a car

Test Drive is still a rough idea that will require some work with designers to actually visualize the product. But we believe the ground floor idea is momentous.

Congratulations to parent/caregiver Barbara McClatchey for her innovative thinking!



Zero is a fantastic visionary concept of what the future of combined micro-sized glucose monitors/insulin pumps could look like. It is, as one of our judges noted, “essentially a functioning artificial pancreas in an armband.”

Even if it may not be real and practical yet, we felt that Zero was the strongest design proposal among all the entrants this year — “a beautifully conceived product platform overall.”  It had some components that may indeed be executable immediately, like the very appealing mobile user interface. We generally felt that the designer behind this has the kind of vision we’d like to nurture, and encourage to join the diabetes industry.

Congratulations to professional designer Mauro Amoruso on his winning design!

Stay tuned here in the next weeks to learn more about our three amazing Grand Prize Winners.




Now, on to our community category winners:

{Prizes = $1,000 in cash each}

Most Creative Idea






Your votes selected In Sue Lin’s World, an interactive game that helps children learn how to manage diabetes.

According to its creator: “By spending time with Sue Lin, children learn more about managing their own blood glucose levels, how different foods affect their blood sugar, and when to take insulin.  This game creates a comfortable and comforting learning environment for a child who has been diagnosed with diabetes.  This application could be compatible with mobile devices or included with glucose monitoring devices.”

Congratulations to Susan Stiles of the creative start-up company Oak Grove Technologies!




Kids Category Winner

{from entrants ages 17 and under}

Your votes also selected AniMeter, an idea for another glucose meter in the shape of an animal.  But its 16-year-old creator envisions this one as a talking meter that is closely tied to the web.

“By speaking back to the child it promotes a healthy life. AniMeter has a USB cord that would be used to connect the meter to AniMeter.com. AniMeter.com would have games, Live Chat for parents with questions and a connection with doctors so that fast adjustments can be made to the child’s regimen, if necessary,” Megan writes.

Nice thinking, and a very nice presentation, Megan. Congratulations to you!




Again, CONGRATULATIONS to all!  Your creativity is our lifeline.

Many thanks to the California HealthCare Foundation for making this competition possible.

Winners will hear from us shortly.

Also, Dear Readers: Please tune in here in the next weeks for more in-depth information on the winning designs and the people behind them, along with a look at some of our favorite “runner-up” entries.

See the 2009 Winners