100state: Madison entrepreneurs design solutions to public health challenges

Joe Sweeney, 100state Director
608-609-6716 ([email protected])

(Madison, Wisconsin) As part of Madison’s Forward Tech Festival on Sunday night, 80 young entrepreneurs and creatives gathered to solve real problems facing Wisconsin’s health. The “Problem-Solving Soiree” was hosted at 100state in downtown Madison, a new creative community for passionate problem solvers which also offers coworking space. The event produced 21 new business concepts, some of which are already moving toward implementation. One group is building a breastfeeding app while another is designing a strategy to inform local uninsured young adults about the health insurance marketplace coming on October 1st.

“The event was a microcosm of 100state’s community,” said Director Joe Sweeney. 100 State has been open for only two months and already has 60 members who pay a monthly fee to work and collaborate. “We practiced critical innovation skills while producing meaningful benefit for the community. Madison is ready for something like this.”

The six challenges were proposed by Ninjas for Health, a company that innovates public health using web and communication solutions. Each challenge was based on a current issue facing a public health agency including: obesity, active communities, breastfeeding, local health preemption, health insurance access, and public/private partnerships. The participating agencies were the Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Network, Wisconsin Breastfeeding Coalition, Statewide Active Communities Team, Public Health Madison & Dane County, and a national organization called Grassroots Change.

“Public health efforts have increased the quality and length of our lives by 25 years in the last decade.” said Kyle Pfister, founder of Ninjas for Health, “New technologies are innovating and accelerating the next generation of health improvements. We’re excited to be a part of that transformation.”

Participants engaged in a rapid innovation model facilitated by Dr. Darin Eich, founder of Innovation Learning and President of BrainReactions. Dr. Eich leads programs at higher education institutions like Dartmouth and the UW, and has facilitated effective brainstorming for prominent organizations like P&G and the United Nations.

The event was only the first step in an innovation competition that continues for the rest of this month, which will award $800 in prizes to build ideas that show the biggest promise for impact. Anyone is welcome to submit a concept by September 1st at ninjasforhealth.com/challenges.


Interviews with Joe Sweeney, 100state Director, and Kyle Pfister, Ninjas for Health Founder, are available upon request.