Revised Designathon Poster

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Designathons for Health: Collection of Practices to Develop a SIHI/TDR Practical Guide
A designathon (aka hackathon, sprint collaboration, intensive workshop) is a three-stage activity that includes an open call for ideas and participants, an intensive period of collaborative work, and follow-up activities (Tucker et al., 2018). The purpose of this project is to gather practices and practical tips related to designathons for health in order to inform the development of a global SIHI/TDR consensus statement on organizing health designathons. 

Have you organized a designathon on a health-related topic? What challenges did you encounter with your designathon, and how did you overcome those challenges? What activities were key ingredients for the success of your designathon? 

The Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health (SESH) team, the Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI), and the Ending HIV Transmission by Optimizing PrEP in East Asia (HOPE) consortium are organizing this call for descriptions of how people have organized their designathons. Exceptional ideas will be recognized by the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) and included in a practical guide. In addition, selected finalists will be invited to join a consensus group to finalize a global consensus statement. 
Designathons have been used to develop interventions, inform consensus guidelines, and engage local communities. There is a growing literature that supports using designathons. However, there are no practical guides focused on organizing designathons for public health or medicine. A compilation of strategies would be useful for future organizers, researchers, and others interested in using designathon approaches to improve health.

The final deadline for contributions is February 28th 2023.
Guideline for contributions
Format of your submission
We will accept submissions in form of a written text (a one-page of A4) or a video/audio description (no more than 3min long). All submissions must be in one of the six UN languages (English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian). 

You will be asked to select any of the following submissions categories that may apply to your submission:

  1. Process evaluation or description: description and/or evaluation of a process or segment that was part of your designathon in health.
  2. Outcome evaluation: description and/or evaluation of the outcomes of your designathon in health.
  3. Strategy to organize a designathon: description and/or evaluation of strategies used to organize your designathon in health.

You may want to consider the following questions in preparing your submission:

  • What practical advice do you have for organizing an effective designathon for health?
  • How did you demonstrate the impact of the designathon using qualitative, quantitative, or other methods?
  • What are ways that designathons can go wrong and how can you prevent these things from happening?
  • What are enabling (or inhibiting) factors for a successful designathon and what did/can you do to address them?
  • A successful example of a designathon for health

Participants must be 18 years or older to participate. Anyone who has organized or participated in a designathon for health is eligible to submit their ideas. We accept submissions using an online form, chat-based submissions, and audio/video submissions as described below (please choose only one of the above formats). You may submit as an individual or a group of up to four individuals.

Online form submission
  • Submission of one A4 page (prefer Times New Roman 12, single-spaced, no more than 50MB) that describes your designathon. These can be submitted as a single Word or text processing file via our online submission form as an attachment. Images and diagrams are allowed as long as all content fits within a single A4 page.
  • Links to images, audio files, and video files can be embedded as hyperlinks in the text

Submissions via WhatsApp or WeChat
  • Download your offline submission form here:
  • Please send your filled submission form directly via WhatsApp to +65 91878576 or WeChat to (WeChat ID) raynerkjtan.
  • Images, audio files or video clips accompanying your text submissions can be forwarded as well

Audio-only or video-only submissions 
  • You will describe your designathon within three minutes.
  • You may submit this either via the online submission form or forward this form through WhatsApp or WeChat.
Judging Criteria
Submissions will be judged on a 1-10 scale (1 lowest quality, 10 highest quality) according to the following five criteria that will assess the designathon process, outcomes or strategies described:

  1. Relevance to the call: This refers to the alignment between your submission and the objective of this call which is to identify practices and practical tips related to designathons for health.
  2. Clear and concise description: This refers to how clearly your designathon process, outcome or strategy is described.
  3. ImpactThe broadly refers to the effectiveness, quality, or influence that your shared ideas, practices or experiences may have on guiding future designathons in health.
  4. Feasibility and scalabilityFeasibility means that the designathon is organized in a way that is realistic and practical for the given context; scalability refers to how the designathon could be replicable to other contexts.
  5. Promotion of Equity: Has your designathon addressed inequities in the design, implementation, or evaluation?

After screening for eligibility by the organizing committee, all the eligible entries will be assessed by independent judges. Each submission will be reviewed by at least three independent judges and final decisions will be made by the steering committee.
Deadline: February 28, 2023 *DEADLINE EXTENDED* March 7, 2023 midnight Geneva time
Judging: March - April 2023
Finalist Notifications: End April 2023

All participants who receive a mean score of 8/10 or greater on the 1-10 scale will receive a certificate of commendation. Themes from the submitted texts will be analyzed to inform the development of a joint international consensus document in partnership with the SIHI network. Finally, selected individuals will be invited to join the working group that develops the consensus statement. At least four finalists will be supported to join the in-person consensus meeting that will occur in July 2023 in Chicago, USA.
Global Steering Committee & Organizing Committee
Steering Committee
Dr Jackeline Alger (Honduras), Dr Liz Chen (United States), Dr Suzanne Day (United States), Katusha de Villiers (South Africa), Tina Fourie (South Africa), Dr Titilola Gbaja-Biamila (Nigeria), Dr Beatrice Halpaap (Switzerland), Dr Meredith Labarda (Philippines), Dr Gifty Marley (China), Ralph Mpofu (Malaysia), Dr Ucheoma Nwaozuru (Nigeria), Chisom Obiezu-Umeh (Nigeria), Dr Jason Ong (Australia), Willice Onyango (Kenya), Noel Shaskan (United States), Yusha Tao (China)

Designathon Open Call Organizing Committee
Yusuf Babatunde (Nigeria), Dr Nina Castillo Carandang (Philippines), Dr Juliet Iwelunmor (United States), Jagan Karthick (India), Dr Eneyi Kpokiri (United Kingdom), Dr Rayner Tan (Singapore), Dr Weiming Tang (United States), Dr Joseph Tucker (United Kingdom), Dr Dan Wu (China), Dr Jason Ong (Australia)
1. What is an Open Call?
 Open calls provide a structured mechanism to solicit diverse feedback over a period of time. Open calls have been widely used by governments, private foundations, and others to spur innovation. More details about open contests for health are available here.

2. Can I submit to the open call as an individual or a group?
 You can submit a description of a designathon process, outcome, or strategy as an individual or on behalf of a group up to a maximum of four individuals.

3. Is there a limit to the number of contributions?
 No, there is no limit. However, in the interest of fairness to all other participants only 1 of your ideas may be selected to qualify as a finalist. Also, each idea for a designathon needs to be submitted separately (i.e., if you organized or participated in more than one designathon that you want to tell us about for the open call, please contribute them as separate submissions).

4. Does it cost me anything to participate?
Participation in the open call is free, with no purchase or payment obligation.

5. What are the prizes?
All participants who receive a mean score of 8/10 or greater on the 1-10 scale will receive a certificate of commendation. Themes from the submitted texts will be analyzed to inform the development of a joint international consensus document in partnership with the SIHI network. Finally, selected individuals will be invited to join the working group that develops the consensus statement. At least four finalists will be supported (round trip airfare and accommodations) to join the in-person consensus meeting that will occur in July 2023 (one representative will be supported if you submit as a group).

6. Are there any other conditions that apply for eligibility?
Your submission must be an original work. Participants in the open call must not knowingly infringe, misappropriate, or otherwise violate any intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or any other rights of any person or entity in the performance of work. 

7. What do you mean by terms such as impact, effectiveness, and success?
This open call is looking to evaluate a diverse range of submissions and therefore there isn’t a single objective measure of impact, effectiveness, or success imposed on submissions. Therefore, your submission should provide some context around how your process, outcome, or strategy had led to some lessons learned or improvements in the context of your own designathon.

8. What is the Ending HIV Transmission by Optimizing PrEP in East Asia (HOPE) consortium?
HOPE is a global project aiming to reduce HIV transmission in East Asia by optimizing the roll-out, implementation, and real-world effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in Australia, Thailand, and the Philippines. To this end, HOPE aims to generate new knowledge and solutions to optimize the use of PrEP and translate research and community insights into accessible forms for PrEP program and policy development. By establishing a network of regional experts from research, communities and policymakers, HOPE will co-design intervention strategies with key populations to improve PrEP care adherence and persistence among key populations. These strategies have been informed by socially innovative methods (e.g., crowdsourcing, discrete choice experiments) and implemented in each country site.

9. What is Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health?
The SESH (Social Entrepreneurship to Spur Health) initiative is a partnership joining individuals from the Southern Medical University Dermatology Hospital, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of North Carolina-Project China. The main goal of this project is to create more creative, equitable, and effective health services using crowdsourcing open calls and other social entrepreneurship tools. Crowdsourcing is the process of having a group solve a problem and then sharing that solution widely with the public. SESH is the Social Innovation in Health Initiative Hub for China.

10. What is the Social Innovation in Health Initiative?
The Social Innovation in Health Initiative (SIHI) is an informal network of individuals and institutions sharing a common goal to advance social innovation in health, through research, capacity building and advocacy, to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage and meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2014, SIHI has identified and studied more than 50 community-based social innovations across 17 countries that are transforming health care delivery to improve access so no-one is left behind.

11. What is TDR?
TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. It is co-sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Contact our contest coordinator, Rayner Tan, at
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