Viral events happen by luck as much as by design. If your audience is 13,000 busy health care employees and nearly 4,000 overwhelmed health sciences students, you need lots of both. Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals’ campaign to stimulate innovation in health care ended up getting a very substantial number of its employees and students to submit their ideas and innovations and vote for their favorite ones during their “JAZ Tank Startup Challenge.” That’s why Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals won first place the “Best Viral Campaign” category in Ragan’s 2015 Ragan Intranet Awards.
Hosted by a newly created innovation center, the Jefferson Acceleration Zone (JAZ), the Jefferson JAZ Tank Startup Challenge was an enterprise-wide contest for employees and students created in the spring of 2015 to tap into the innovative thinking of the entire organization. Its goals were to help Jefferson entrepreneurs incubate, accelerate, and cultivate ideas and possibly create startup companies focused on health innovation.
In early March, the Jefferson JAZ Tank Startup Challenge competition invited students and employees to compete in offering their ideas. The invitation generated 54 entry submissions in less than one month, to be voted on by employees and students. The campaign drew more than 900 votes in one 24-hour period. Twelve finalists were chosen, and ultimately three winners were awarded $60,000 in prizes supporting winning conceptions or devices—with the possibility of some or all of them being brought to market with Jefferson’s assistance.
Among the JAZ Tank Startup Challenge communicators’ other results:
- Got significant local media coverage for TJUH and the JAZ Tank Startup Challenge.
- Built new and strengthened relationships with venture capitalists and business leaders.
- Stimulated campus excitement and interest in the next JAZ Tank Challenge.
Kudos to staffers in TJUH ‘s Communications, Creative Services, Web Department, Innovation Office, and Student Activities Office for getting the two busiest populations in any organization, health sciences students and health care workers, to care enough to submit their innovations, read the entries and take time to vote!