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Sanofi Data Design Diabetes Q&A

I was fortunate to be able to ask Michele Polz, Head of Patient Solutions for Sanofi US Diabetes a few questions about Sanofi's Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge. The diabetes group at Sanofi has been putting so much good stuff out into the diabetes community since they arrived. When I say 'good stuff' I mean that I've never met a group of people who aren't diabetic that are so dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of the people who are. 

The support that the DOC receives from Discuss Diabetes and Sanofi is immense and they aren't showing any signs of slowing down. I believe that the direction Sanofi has taken when it comes to creating better outcomes for patients is one of the more encouraging things that I've seen in some time. There was a time that if I saw a pharma company getting involved with patients I immediately thought, "hmm, what's their angle... what do they want?". While I can't speak to every pharma or device manufacturer out there, I can tell you that I've met the people at Sanofi and they may be the most dedicated diabetes advocates that I've ever encountered.

After you check out the Q&A take a moment to watch the video and then get your design idea entered! The prizes are substantial! 5 semi-finalists receive, $20,000 for development of the concept prototype, intensive mentorship from industry leaders to hone the concept and participation in a design boot camp. 2 finalists get $10,000 to create a community-based proof-of-concept program and the winner (1) received $100,000 to develop their solution.


1. What is Data Design Diabetes™?

Data Design Diabetes™ is a next-generation challenge that brings together the richness of open data sets, the values of human-centered design, and the leading-edge methodology of the top innovation accelerators, to find the next breakthrough to help millions of Americans living with diabetes.

2. Why is the Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge important to Sanofi?
Sanofi is casting a wide net to meet and help accelerate all of the incredible entrepreneurs who seek to improve diabetes care, by providing them with resources, mentorship, and direct insight from people living with diabetes. The Innovation Challenge is an innovative approach, with unique potential to foster the best solutions, while helping entrepreneurs grow scalable businesses that meaningfully impact healthcare. 

3. Is this year's challenge different than last year's Challenge?
Yes! To kick off this year's Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge and help shape the focus of the challenge, we crowdsourced feedback from people living with diabetes in the U.S. We are also adding a four-day Design & Prototyping Bootcamp where the five semi-finalists will
learn about human-centered design, user experience, and rapid prototyping from industry experts. In addition, we are partnering with Startup America to connect the semi-finalists with valuable entrepreneurial resources. These new additions will help drive creative solutions to improve diabetes care, while enabling innovators to develop their concepts into businesses

4. How did you choose the theme for this year's Innovation Challenge?
The crowdsourcing phase of this year’s Innovation Challenge represents an exciting change in this year’s approach – a direct dialogue between people living with diabetes and the Innovation Challenge, to help shape the guidelines for innovators. The results are in! Respondents spoke up to ask that this year’s Innovation Challenge address the following criteria: 


  • Create tools to help us feel in control. 
  • Understand that diabetes affects families, not just individuals. 
  • We want to be well. 


5. Why should I enter my idea to improve diabetes care?

Whether you’re a designer, a data wizard or a developer, regardless of your background and interests, the work you do on this challenge has the potential to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. Your idea may spur new approaches that help us change the landscape of diabetes care in the U.S. We urge you to submit an idea to help people living with diabetes and their families. 

6. When does the challenge officially open for submissions?

On February 23, 2012, the Innovation Challenge opened for entries. Innovators can submit their concepts now through March 23, 2012, at


2012 Data Design Diabetes Innovation Challenge from Data Design Diabetes on Vimeo.

sanofi-aventis U.S. Innovation Challenge: Data Design Diabetes from Data Design Diabetes on Vimeo.


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