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Prototyping Ideas for Our Fighting Ebola Challenge

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Prototyping is an important part of the design process. It allows us to assess the viability of our ideas and quickly refine and improve. By creating a prototype, we can test our assumptions, get user and stakeholder feedback, and discover new insights that add fresh, human-centered perspectives to our thinking. 


Start with a Question
As you begin your prototyping, it can be helpful to start with clear questions and objectives. For example, if you are working on the personal protective equipment, you might ask – Does my design make wearing the PPE more comfortable? Where are potential areas where it might make removing the PPE more difficult?

In the case of our Fighting Ebola Challenge, we might also ask ourselves: How might this design be rapidly deployed? Since we are working with such an urgent global health need, time is of the essence!

Begin Building
Once we know what questions need answering, let's start building.

Working on a contact tracing idea? Try mapping out your user experience and mocking up the steps needed to take the idea into reality. Use this awesome template created by our friends at and +Acumen.

Working on an education or community based idea? How might you build out a test in your community? Reach out to organizations with similar challenges and look for a way to get rapid feedback on your approach. Take a look at Cansu Arkanu's blog post on prototyping a Women's Carpool from our Women's Safety Challenge.

And whenever possible, we encourage you to build out a physical prototype. Improvements and retrofits to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are a great opportunity to build to learn. Try using basic materials such as trash bags and duct tape to test you designs and make them come to life.

Post Your Updates
Once you've created your prototype, don't forget to load it to the platform! We can't wait to see your ideas come to life! 

Our experts will be reviewing and offering feedback on prototypes that are uploaded by Monday, November 3 – and though the phase closes on Friday, November 7, everyone is welcome to continue adding insights and updates on ideas for as long as they'd like.


As you work on your prototypes, we've put togther some evaluation criteria to help guide your thinking. Ideas will need to meet these needs in order to be eligible for USAID's Grand Challenge. Take a look at the list below and use these to evalute your idea as your prototype. 

Physical Aspects

    •    Low cost to produce and distribute
    •    Increases treatment hours or decreased recovery time   
    •    Improves ability to keep workers protected
    •    Increases safety and sanitization
    •    Incorporates/mitigates common human behavioral error


    •    Doesn’t require extensive or costly R&D - May already prototyped
    •    Uses existing or easily modified supply chain
    •    Utilizes machine process already in place
    •    Immediate or rapid improvements

Implementation & Adoption

    •    Easily deployed using existing infrastructure
    •    Leverages cultural, occupational, and/or human behaviors to simplify adoption


    •    Can be mass produced
    •    Easily distributed
    •    Easily adaptable to different contexts
    •    Low strain on human resources

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Fighting Ebola Challenge


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