Inside This Issue - Opinion
Target seeks new ideas to improve health care
September 23rd, 2013
Target Corp. is leveraging two of its greatest strengths — a keen understanding of consumers’ needs and the ability to forge partnerships that enhance its ability to have a positive influence on the lives of customers — to help improve the nation’s health care system.
The Target Simplicity Challenge, which the discounter launched earlier this month, is designed to foster creative thinking among a broad spectrum of health care stakeholders in two important areas, prevention and helping people with chronic conditions live well.
"The Target Simplicity Challenge is designed to give visibility to those seemingly small, simple ideas that can have a big impact," said Jose Barra, senior vice president of health and beauty, when he unveiled the initiative at Transform 2013, an annual symposium sponsored by the Mayo Clinic that explores innovation and design solutions in health care.
From now until October 24, people with experience in health care and others (a group Barra said he expects will include many Target customers) can submit their ideas on TargetSimplicityChallenge.com. Initial vetting of the concepts will occur via voting on the website, and a panel of the discounter’s executives will then choose the four most compelling proposals in each category. A panel of 11 judges, including industry experts and Target managers, will decide on the winners, who will each receive $25,000 and an opportunity to work with the retailer in realizing their vision.
Those who might be tempted to dismiss the initiative as a public relations exercise should recall Target’s track record. In 2005 the company teamed up with designer Deborah Adler to give tangible form to her reimagining of prescription drug packaging, a project that had its origins when she was a student and her grandmother mistakenly took one of her husband’s medications because of look-alike packaging. ClearRx involved a radical redesign of the traditional pill bottle, including the use of color-coded rings on the neck, easy-to-read labeling and a removable information card. The change quickly resonated with Target customers and won widespread recognition in the pharmacy community.
Barra and his colleagues hope that the Target Simplicity Challenge will once again demonstrate that good things happen when the focus remains squarely on the consumer.