What is the GE NFL Head HealthChallenge?
In March 2013, GE and NFL launched the openinnovationHead Health Challengeto mobilizeinnovators around head health: to help diagnosemild traumatic brain injury and improve the safetyof athletes, members of the military and societyoverall. The challenge is a part of the HeadHealth Initiative a new four-year, $60 millionpartnership between GE and NFL to research thebrain.Forbes’s Monte Burkeexplainsthe initiative:
“There will be two parts. The first will involve a $40million research project headed up by GE, designedto better diagnose mild head trauma and predictits outcomes. The second will be two differentchallenges, led by Under Armour, but accessible toanyone and called the “open innovation challenge.” The first of those will also involve diagnosis andprognosis. The second will focus on trying to designmaterials that help protect the head from trauma.”
The challenge launches amidst growing concernsaround the safety of professional footballers.CNN’s Chris Isidorenotesthe importance of thisinitiative not only for the NFL, but also the largerpublic:
“Experts say beyond the legal risks, the growingconcern about football’s brain injuries could hurtthe sport’s popularity. The threat of brain damage,especially to young players, is prompting a growingnumber of parents to hold their sons back fromplaying competitive football…“People outside of football, including injuredmembers of the military and those withdegenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’sand Parkinson’s, will also benefit from the jointeffort.”
How it works
Like most online collaborative social innovationinitiatives, the Head Health Challenge followsa contest model in which GE and NFL post thechallenge on a platform and invites individuals,groups of individuals or other organizations tosubmit innovations.NY Times’ Judy Battistaexplainsthecrowdsourcing process:
“G.E. would run, with an initial investment of $20million, what it calls an innovation challenge,asking inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists andacademicians to submit ideas for how safety equipment could be improved. The most promisingideas would be selected, financed and brought tomarket, opening the field to ideas that have notsprung from G.E. or helmet manufacturers.”
The $20 million prize money will be spread overthe two parts of the challenge. Part I launchedin March 2013 and calls for submissions by July2013. Part II is scheduled to launch in the secondhalf of 2013 and continue into 2014.