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Introducing the Pitch Day Finalists: Medical Innovation By the People and For the People

Oct 14, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Alex Fair, co-founder and chief crowdologist of MedStartr, Inc. Alex Fair, co-founder and chief crowdologist of MedStartr, Inc.

Entrepreneur Alex Fair has a vision for letting citizens decide which health care innovations the government should fund. He was one of eight finalists invited to pitch their ideas live and in person at the first-ever Pioneer Pitch Day. Read Fair's 1,000-character proposal below, and join the discussion on Twitter at #pioneerpitch.

Alex Fair is the co-founder and chief crowdologist of MedStartr, Inc. and an organizer of Health 2.0 NYC. You can follow him on Twitter at @alexbfair. Alex will co-present with Jeff Borenstein of MedStartr, Inc.

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Introducing the Pitch Day Finalists: Crowdsourcing Lifestyle Health Experiments

Oct 11, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Christopher Robertson, visiting professor at Harvard Law’s Petrie-Flom Center Christopher Robertson, visiting professor at Harvard Law’s Petrie-Flom Center

Christopher Robertson, a visiting professor at Harvard Law's Petrie-Flom Center (@PetrieFlom), wants to create a platform that engages social networks to enroll millions of people in large-scale randomized experiments. Robertson was one of eight finalists we invited to pitch us their ideas live and in person at the first-ever Pioneer Pitch Day. Read Robertson's 1,000-character proposal below, and join the discussion on Twitter at #pioneerpitch.

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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Making Proposals Public

Aug 8, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by Lori Melichar

Lori Melichar, director Lori Melichar, director

“Information wants to be free.” That’s the mantra of Internet culture, which is increasingly indistinguishable from culture at large. What does this cultural shift mean for a foundation seeking to fund innovation? Specifically, what does it mean for Pioneer?

My colleague, Nancy Barrand, and I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Clearly, the existence of this blog, and of our website and various social media channels, are all proof that we share more information outside the walls of this Foundation than we ever did before. But we still keep one part of our process under lock and key: proposal review.

Each year, thousands of organizations submit proposals to RWJF, and only the fraction of them that receive funding are ever shared publicly. This is less a comment on the quality of the ideas than it is on the specificity of our funding strategy, and, of course, the fact that our budget is finite. Increasingly, we’ve wished we could share the ideas we don’t fund with a wider audience, so they could benefit from the collective intelligence of our growing network.

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Name Our Podcast

Jun 6, 2013, 2:00 PM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

We need your help. We’re launching a podcast next month and we need a name for it.

The purpose of the podcast is to provide listeners with insight about the types of ideas in which the Pioneer team wants to invest. (It’s the same reason we write posts on this blog.) Christine Nieves Rodriguez—Pioneer’s program associate—will be the host (she has the best radio voice of all of us) and segments will include conversations with program officers, grantees and friends, as well as news about grants and events.

So, this is what we came up with:

  • Pioneering Ideas (yes, we realize this is also the name of the blog)
  • Pioneering Voices (meh)

Please help us. What would you name a podcast about seeking out new ideas for health and health care innovation? We need to make a decision by June 21, so hurry up and leave your suggestion in the comments below. Thanks!

Health Foo 2013: Best Canceled Event, Ever

Apr 24, 2013, 11:52 AM, Posted by Ted Eytan

Painting by Regina Holliday "The Open Door," a painting by Regina Holliday inspired by Health Foo 2013

A version of this post originally appeared on Ted’s personal blog.

At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19, I received word that Health Foo, an annual unconference about health set in Cambridge, MA, was canceled because Boston and its surrounding areas were on lockdown as the search for one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects continued. Like me, many other attendees were already en route, and we quickly decided that we’d find a way to make Health Foo happen for anyone who was in town and was interested.

There was no mistaking the gravity of the situation on Friday. The decision to cancel was a good one. What happened next, though, was pretty amazing.

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