Cannes, France – Sharon James, the global head of R&D at RB, laid out a challenge for scientists, marketers, researchers and creatives = R&D innovation hack. Create ideas that foster healthier lives and happier homes. In 24 hours. Their focus: pollution. It’s the #1 killer in the world, taking the lives of 7 million people each year. RB wants ideas for new products that will reduce the impact of air pollution on children in India. Here’s what they cheffed up:

Team 1: Air Brush It

In Dehli, children spend two hours per day commuting to and from school, with the windows down in a haze of pollution. At school, they’re inhaling even more or 8 hours. That’s 3000 hours of damage. To lessen it, the team recommends an adhesive that will capture air pollutants. Specifically: Paint. A photocatalytic paint to capture PM2.5 air pollutants on the outside of buildings and holds it there until the next rain washes it away. To advance the technology the team recommends mimicking the properties of the silver birch leaf to capture pollutants in new ways. They’re calling on scientists around the world to help create the new compound. From there, it’s paintbrushes and buckets. They imagine painting the outside of buildings with not just full coats but memorable murals as well.

Team 2: Turn Training Into Playing 

They call the idea the Sound of Healthy lungs. Its inception is scientific: improve and train the lungs with an incentive spirometer to increase or maintain lung volume and circulation to avoid lung damage. But, it looks like: fun! Or, really a bright yellow kazoo that operates on inhalation instead of exhalation. The stronger the inhale, the louder the sound. It’s integrated with a school training program that teaches kids to play the instrument with a song. Not enough? Don’t worry they’ve got Bollywood and World Cup partnerships, too.

Team 3: Project Choti Saans

The window of time we have to make a meaningful intervention is incredibly small. A child’s lung capacity doubles in 6 months; it triples in 12. In fact, 60% of their lung development is happening in just that year of time. So, Team 3 focused on solutions for 0 – 2 year olds. Their life changing product is Choti Saans – or little breaths. It looks like a pacifier and it includes air filters for breathing through the mouth or nose. It can be easily used during the ~18 hours/day baby is sleeping. For each one sold, they imagine RB donating one through Save The Children. To promote it, they will be challenging mothers and challenging India to pick a fight with destiny through both media and celebrity partnerships. Health Experience Project contributor Travis Rooke was part of this team and from the comments and questions, we think the judges might be as partial to it as we are.

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About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.