WALTHAM, Mass., July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, today announced a collaboration with AARP Foundation, AARP's charitable affiliate, to help advance the Foundation's cause of improving the lives of millions of older Americans who struggle to meet their basic needs for nutritious food, safe and affordable housing, adequate income, and personal connections.
As part of the alliance, InnoCentive and AARP Foundation have launched the AARP Foundation-InnoCentive Challenge Series, which is comprised of a dedicated Pavilion located on InnoCentive.com. The Pavilion serves as the premier online destination for open innovation Challenges focused on helping solve pressing problems affecting older Americans. The Pavilion currently features two initial challenges, aligned to AARP and AARP Foundation's Drive to End Hunger program, which aims to reduce older Americans' vulnerability to food insecurity.
According to AARP Foundation research, today, more than 9 million adults age 50 and older face the risk of hunger and food insecurity, and this number has continued to increase steadily as a consequence of the 2008 recession, the effect of which still widely impacts older Americans. The problem is particularly pronounced in the southern states and among racial and ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.
By leveraging open innovation Challenges crowdsourced to a global network of more than 260,000 diverse problem solvers, AARP Foundation and InnoCentive seek to help millions of struggling adults win back opportunity, move from a state of vulnerability to stability, recover confidence and get back on track.
"Creating innovative ideas that reach older Americans is imperative in the fight to end older adult hunger," said Jo Ann Jenkins, president of AARP Foundation. "By taking steps to develop long-term sustainable solutions we can address the root causes of hunger among those 50 and older."
Coinciding with the launch of the AARP Foundation Innovation Pavilion, AARP Foundation and InnoCentive announced two new Challenges, each with a total award value of $10,000. As Ideation Challenges, prizes will be awarded for the best solution submission(s) as determined by AARP Foundation.
The Drive to End Hunger – Sustainable Solutions Challenge, seeks ideas for long-term, sustainable solutions that prevent food insecurity from happening in the first place or that reduce an older adult's vulnerability to food insecurity in a significant way.
The Drive to End Hunger – Eliminations of Food Deserts Challenge, seeks ideas for reducing or eliminating "food deserts." According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a food desert is defined as a "low-income census tract where a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store."
Ideal solutions to both Challenges will focus on long-term, sustainable programs for preventing, reducing, or eliminating food insecurity and the number of food deserts, respectively, without the reliance on food provisions by third-party providers or benefits assistance, such as food stamps.
"Our collaboration with AARP Foundation and the launch of the Pavilion and Challenges are real game changers," said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive. "Since older Americans have been particularly affected by the 'great recession,' novel and creative solutions are essential to providing them with hope and opportunity. Crowdsourcing has proven its efficacy in everything from providing safe drinking water to African villages to discovering disease biomarkers, and I'm thrilled that we can now turn our attention and that of our Solvers to this important cause."
About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. By coordinating responses to these issues on all four fronts at once, and supporting them with vigorous legal advocacy, the Foundation serves the unique needs of those 50+ while working with local organizations nationwide to reach more people, work more efficiently and make resources go further. AARP Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AARP. Learn more at www.aarpfoundation.org.
InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world's largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive's proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, network of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before. For more information, visit www.innocentive.com or call 1-855-CROWDNOW.
Schwartz MSL for InnoCentive
AARP Media Relations
SOURCE InnoCentive, Inc.