This year, Code Talent attended Denver's unique entrepreneurial event, 10.10.10:
10 Prospective CEOs
10 Wicked Problems
10.10.10 challenges serial entrepreneurs to come together and address the wicked problems in health—in just 10 days. While new ventures are not expected to be created after the 10 days, the goal is for these entrepreneurs to eventually create new ventures based on a new product or service that addresses one of the given wicked problems.
The organizers of the event do it because, "the talent's of today's best entrepreneurs are squandered." The event argues that the world doesn't need another app, rather needs entrepreneurs to tackle the problems holding us back from creating a better world. A "wicked problem," is an extremely complex, sprawling issue that eludes description and defies solution. First outlined by two Berkley professors in 1973, these problems are highly entangled, spread in every direction, and do not respond to conventional solutions. That's why 10.10.10 challenges entrepreneurs to think of out-of-the-box solutions that can be delivered to the hungry markets directly effected by the problem, and better our world.
10.10.10 began in Denver addressing specifically wicked problems in health in 2015. The event still focuses on health, but has plans to expand to other wicked problems, and other cities across the country. The Big Reveal is the first day of 10.10.10 open to the public, where the 10 prospective CEOs and 10 Wicked Problems are introduced.
This year's problems were introduced by none other than Erik Mitisek, the Executive Director of Project XITE at the University of Denver and Chief Innovation Officer for the state of Colorado. The problems were daunting, entangled with each other, and complex—just as promised.
2017 10.10.10 Wicked Problems:
- Implementation Science: In order for a doctor to keep up with the latest and best evidence, they must read 17 journal articles, 365 days a year. It's impossible to keep up, and patients are suffering. We are in need optimization of implementation science. View complete description here.
- Mental Health: The issue lies in that primary care doctors typically don't ask mental health questions, but mental health is a driving factor in our overall health and wellness. We need to integrate mental health with medical services, train individuals, and reduce the stigma or we'll continue to see untreated addiction and mental illness impact our society as a whole.
- Affordable Housing: Housing costs are not keeping up with salaries. Teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other crucial professions are unable to live in the communities they're working in. Once though of as an issue only impacting low-income communities, and now encroaching on middle-income families, we're now looking at one wicked problem.
- Type II Diabetes & PreDiabetes: Diabetes is growing. Already 29 million Americans have been diagnosed, 90% with Type II diabetes, but what's worse? There's an additional 86 million Americans with PreDiabetes who don't even know it. 10.10.10 asks their serial entrepreneurs to address the non-clinical issues, such as access to care and decision making. View complete description here.
- Toxic Stress: There are 3 broad types of stress: positive, tolerable, and toxic. Toxic stress is brought on by a complex set of factors in a family, resulting in chronic and pervasive stress. Those who are impacted by toxic stress at a young age are more likely to experience chronic disease, or in some cases, a decrease in life expectancy of 20 years.
- Childcare Accessibility: This industry pays low wages to staff, yet costs parents an arm and a leg for quality childcare. Our society has not valued quality care and education for young children enough, nor have we figured out how to support working women in or the type of the support they need in terms of childcare.
- Aligning Incentives to Value: Our healthcare system is currently fee for service, and it's costing us $3-4 trillion dollars every year. If we can look towards a value based system, it will change how people are paid for services and improve patient satisfaction and outcomes in people's overall health.
- Self-Empowerment in Wellness: There are many solutions to health and wellness out there, we are bombarded by competing messages everyday. These solutions tell us what we do wrong, and assume we will make a change. But that's not the way it works. We need to tap into behavioral science, what actually changes behavior, to make a difference.
- Food Insecurity: Millions of Americans are unable to provide the adequate, healthy food for their families, and it’s more than those below the poverty line. The increase in locations and marketing of junk food convenience store type places, in addition to other factors, have made it exceedingly hard for some communities to buy the right amount and type of food.
- Health Literacy: Health literacy is "the ability to understand, derive meaning from, and act on your personal health data." Yet, there are no solutions available to help individuals truly understand their care and health, making it much more difficult to make the hard decisions. Right now is the time to address health literacy, as there's a movement to give patients access to research that makes sense and helps them act on their own behalf.
The Serial Entrepreneurs:
This year's group of prospective CEOs was the event's most diverse group ever. Welcoming those from all across the country, from all kinds of backgrounds. Although 10.10.10 focuses on wicked problems in health, many of the entrepreneurs did not have experience in healthcare. There were backgrounds in a range of industries, from construction to software development. The participants discussed their background, and how they plan to attack the wicked problems using their experience. While the entrepreneurs all described their past ventures as successful and fulfilling, one of the main reasons for participating was to leave a lasting impact on the world.
Meet the 10 serial entrepreneurs here.
The Grand Finale
The final event of 10.10.10 was held in City Hall on Broadway. The event had a line out the door, with people flooding in past the time the event was supposed to begin. After short remarks from the organizers and sponsors, we were reintroduced to the first 5 of the 10 prospective CEOs. Each participant was asked to explain what they worked on in the past intense 10 days, as well as what they plan to do in the next 9 months, and what they need from the audience to potentially solve the wicked problems. There was then a Q&A with the audience, so attendees could dig deeper into the ideas.
The entrepreneurs were introduced to the 10 wicked problems, and many began by addressing multiple problems. This was expected, as wicked problems are generally entangled into each other. All 10 entrepreneurs brought exciting ideas to the stage, ranging from wearables to online platforms to complete redesigning of a system. No entrepreneur had a crystal clear idea of what their venture would look like down the road, but they all knew they wanted to continue with their potential solutions. It was no surprise that every single entrepreneur said that these 10 days were exceedingly intense, with high-highs and low-lows. There were last moment hiccups, breakdowns, and complete frustration, according to all of the participants. However, it was clear that the entrepreneurs were excited about their new projects, and extremely grateful for the opportunity and experience 10.10.10 gave them.
10.10.10 is a one-of-a-kind event that pushes serial entrepreneurs to become impact entrepreneurs, looking deep into the world's wicked problems in health. We strongly suggest attending one of the events next year!