Officials representing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of Americans, have announced an online competition designed to find innovative ways that video games can be used to help people manage their health and improve how their care is provided.
The competition, called “Why Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Care,” challenges game developers, researchers, health organizations and others to demonstrate how games can help improve health and health care.
In addition, organizers hope that the competition’s open source model developed by Changemakers will further help to build a community focused on the effort of connecting games and health.
The contest itself is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, which, according to the organization, supports innovative ideas and projects that “may trigger important breakthroughs in health and health care.”
The “Why Games Matter” competition is the third in a series of “idea competitions” co-sponsored by the foundation and Changemakers, an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. Changemakers focuses on the rapidly growing world of social innovation. These events feature a collaborative competition model in which users submit their ideas online and the Changemakers community provides feedback on the problem and proposed solutions throughout the life of the competition.
This latest contest will feature a panel of judges who will select approximately 12 finalists, after which online votes will determine the top 3 winners, each of whom will receive $5,000. As an added bonus, all finalists will also be given the opportunity to attend the “Why Games Matter” Change Summit at the upcoming 2008 Games for Health conference.
“We expect this competition to shake up conventional wisdom about what constitutes a health game, the market for such games, and approaches to designing great games for health” said Chinwe Onyekere, RWJF program officer. “The “Why Games Matter” competition encourages innovation throughout the gaming and social enterprise communities that helps people lead healthier lives and get the care they need.”
For more information on the competition, or for instructions on how to enter your own ideas, visit the official website