Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s new Solve initiative

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s new Solve initiative

We’re excited to announce that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s new Solve initiative is looking for tech solutions to their Brain Health Challenge: How can every person improve their brain health and mental resilience?

Do you have a tech driven solution to this challenge? The submission deadline is August 1, 2017.

Solutions to the Brain Health Challenge are eligible for the Yo-Yo Ma mentorship prize, which will be awarded to a solution who proposes a non-medical intervention that uses the arts and culture to reduce stress and enhance brain fitness and resiliency among resource-limited populations.

What is Solve?

Solve is an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that identifies and supports lasting solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. Solve is a community that brings together technologists, social entrepreneurs, business leaders, policymakers, researchers, and other change agents to unearth and implement solutions to specific, actionable challenges around education, health, sustainability, and economic prosperity.

Solve issues their challenges for anybody from around the world to apply. They identify the best solutions through open innovation. And they build and convene a community of leaders and change-makers who have the resources, the expertise, the mentorship, and the know-how to get each solution piloted, scaled, and implemented.

If you have a solution on their four new challenges, apply at solve.mit.edu by August 1, 2017.

Why everyone can contribute to the Brain Health Challenge

Corinna E. Lathan, PhD
CEO, AnthroTronix

MIT’s new Solve initiative is looking for solutions on Brain Health by August 1st at 5pm U.S. Eastern Time. As a member of the Challenge Leadership Group who will be judging the solutions, here’s my advice on how everyone can contribute to Brain Health Challenge:

  1. Pick something that you are passionate about and supports YOUR brain health. 
  2. Develop a great user experience.
  3. Clearly define your metrics for success and the tools for measuring outcomes.
  4. Make the case that your solution will increase brain health and fitness, enable more accurate diagnosis, and reduce stigma around brain health.

The Challenge to develop a solution enabling every person to “improve their brain health and mental resilience” is a daunting one and you may think that you need specialized medical training in order to have an impact.  But, ANYONE can develop an innovative solution to help improve brain health!  

The brain is actually very sensitive to activities that we are all “experts” in —eating, exercising, and learning. Over the long-haul, all of these activities have a lasting impact on the brain.

A Brain Health solution could be as simple as creating an innovative way to “nudge” us to eat better, fostering creativity by helping non-musicians learn to play an instrument as a stress-reducer, or even using wearables to monitor our activity and recognize changes that might impact our brain health. The ubiquity of mobile devices enable many of these innovative interventions to scale even to resource poor areas.

One challenge for Solvers—and of critical importance to a successful project—is measuring impact. When it comes to brain health, this is particularly challenging as we don’t track our brain health the same way we track other aspects of our physical health like height, weight, temperature, and heart rate.

In fact, every time we go to the doctor's office from the time we are born our height, weight, temperature, and blood pressure are meticulously recorded. As consumers, we can walk into a drugstore and buy a thermometer or a blood pressure cuff to monitor our own vital signs to stay healthy. Those vital signs are important, but we seem to be missing the most important vital sign of all—our brain vital. In addition to the one in four Americans who suffer from conditions that affect brain function, ALL of us experience times when our brains are not operating at maximum efficiency possibly due to an accident, illness, alcohol consumption, or simply fatigue.

Given that these brain health assessments are readily available to the consumer, we now have the opportunity to track individuals across their life span. Tracking an individual’s brain vital while they are healthy allows us to assess the impact of innovative solutions. Innovative interventions will likely embed these assessments or brain vitals in their solutions.

Good luck to all the applicants out there – we look forward to reading your solutions!