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Trying Something New: Pioneer Pitch Day

Oct 22, 2013, 10:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Pitch Day Judges, Staff, and Emcee Emcee Thomas Goetz and Pioneer Pitch Day judges Lori Melichar, John Lumpkin, Paul Tarini, Mike Painter, Nancy Barrand, Shankar Vedantam, Ben Sawyer, Fred Mann, Rodrigo Martinez, Esther Dyson, Ben Heywood, John Maeda and Steve Downs. Deborah Bae and Ben Schiller not pictured.

The Pioneer team is always on the lookout for new thinking about how to transform health and health care – not just from visionaries in these fields, but also from big thinkers in other disciplines.

Discovering big ideas from diverse sources was the idea behind Pioneer Pitch Day, an event we hosted last week at the offices of AppNexus, a tech startup in New York City. Eight finalists (culled from more than 500 applicants) had five minutes each to share their vision, then answered five minutes of questions from a panel of judges, as well as audience questions. The judges included designers, investors, entrepreneurs, journalists and others, in addition to foundation staff. Our entrepreneur-in-residence, Thomas Goetz, was the master of ceremonies.

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Meet the Pitch Day Judges

Oct 9, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Pitch Day Social Image

With the first-ever Pioneer Pitch Day (#pioneerpitch) around the corner, we wanted to take a minute to put the spotlight on our incredible line-up of guest judges, who will be joining RWJF staff to evaluate finalists’ presentations. We asked them to tell us why they decided to participate in Pitch Day – and we asked them to keep their answers to approximately the length of a tweet (140 characters). Here are some of their responses:

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Partnering with Freakonomics to Find Unconventional Approaches to Ending Childhood Obesity

Mar 27, 2013, 4:55 PM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn Brian Quinn, assistant vice president, Research and Evaluation

Solving intractable problems requires unconventional thinking. We recently partnered with some unconventional thinkers—the co-authors of Freakonomics—to convene a conversation on reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. We were interested in this collaboration because the experts at Freakonomics have a proven track record of thinking creatively and vigorously; they look at difficult problems through new lenses. 

The eclectic group of participants included:

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We Want to Know Your Thoughts About the TEDMED Great Challenges

Apr 10, 2012, 6:34 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

Brian Quinn / RWJF Brian Quinn, RWJF assistant vice president

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), our mission is to improve the health and health care of all Americans. Good health and health care are fundamental measures of our success as a nation. That’s why we are pleased to support this year’s TEDMED conference (April 10-13), which brings together leaders from a wide array of medical and non-medical disciplines to explore the future of health and medicine.

In our 40 years, RWJF has learned several lessons that led us to support this year’s TEDMED conference. We’ve learned the importance of working with partners and building on the efforts of others; facilitating collaboration among unlikely allies; resisting the illusion of complete understanding; and being persistent.

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Innovation, Optimism and Exploration at TEDMED 2011

Oct 27, 2011, 5:49 AM

Innovation often signifies progress and change. It is a sign that we’re moving the needle forward. But as we from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio attend theTEDMED sessions this week, we’ve witnessed innovation become more than a mere word or sign. It’s become a powerful feeling that emotes goose-bump excitement and enthusiasm to break down walls that can achieve new and improved standards of health and medicine.