Quantitative  evaluation of an innovation contest

Ye Zhang1,2, Songyuan Tang3, Katherine Li4, Lai Sze Tso1, Barry L. Bayus5, David Glidden6,  Bin Yang 7, Heping Zheng 7, Chongyi Wei 8, Joseph Tucker 1 and Weiming Tang 1,7


1. University of North Carolina Project-China, Guangzhou, China;

2. Kirby Institution, University of South Wales, Sydney, Australia;

3. School of Public Health, Kunming Medical University, Kunming, China;

4. Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, USA;

5. Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA;

6. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics & Global Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA;

7. Dermatology Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China;

8. Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics & Global Health Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA


Crowdsourcing method is an excellent tool for developing tailored interventions to improve sexual health. We evaluated the implementation of an innovation contest for sexual health promotion in China.



We organized an innovation contest over three months in 2014 for Chinese individuals < 30 years old to submit images for a sexual health promotion campaign. We solicited entries via social media and in-person events. The winning entry was adapted into a poster and distributed to STD clinics across Guangdong Province. In this study, we evaluated factors associated with images that received higher scores, described the themes of the top five finalists, and evaluated the acceptability of the winning entry using an online survey tool.



We received 96 image submissions from 76 participants in 10 Chinese provinces. Most participants were youth (< 25 years, 85%) and non-professionals (without expertise in medicine, public health, or media, 88%). Youth were more likely to submit high-scoring entries. Images from professionals in medicine, public health, or media did not have higher scores compared to images from non-professionals. Participants were twice as likely to have learned about the contest through in-person events compared to social media. We adapted and distributed the winning entry to 121 public STI clinics in 22 cities over 2 weeks. A total of 8338 people responded to an acceptability survey of the finalist entry. The majority of the survey respondents found the winning image acceptable and engaging, with 43% of respondents strongly endorsing and 43.4% of respondents endorsing approval of the image. Additionally, 79.8% endorsed or strongly endorsed being more willing to undergo STD testing after seeing the poster.



Importantly, submissions from non-experts accounted for the majority of the top ten entries, highlighting the utility of engaging non-expert audiences. Innovation contests may be useful for soliciting images as a part of comprehensive sexual health campaigns in low- and middle-income countries. Future sexual health campaigns should incorporate face-to-face interactions where participants can ask questions and solicit feedback about their submission ideas.

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