Project Description

We invited 10 successful entrepreneurs – our “Prospective CEOs” – to join us for 10 days to address wicked problems and opportunities that matter to Cities. We challenged these 10 Prospective CEOs with 10 wicked problems in health to identify market-based solutions that may become their new ventures.


For too many individuals, we miss early signs of mental illness, failing to provide timely interventions resulting in crisis and untold pain and suffering. Our cultural and systemic approach to mental health is designed to react when mental health problems arise instead of intervening before a crisis unfolds.

As individuals age, there is a decline in overall health, including oral health. Many factors such as comorbidities, medication interactions, lack of dental benefits, dementia, etc. exacerbate the problem. There is a direct link between oral health and overall health and poor oral health in older adults can lead to a lower quality of life, increased economic burden and increased mortality rates.

Health care data lives in silos. Patient and personal health care data is difficult to move, exists within systems that do not interact or communicate with one another and is most often inaccessible to the individual to whom the data belongs. Data liquidity is the ability of data to be entered once into a health record and then used downstream by other systems or users. The illiquidity of healthcare data creates incredible inefficiencies in the healthcare system and creates adverse effects on patients on a universal scale.

Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare are well-documented and pose moral, ethical and economic dilemmas. Inadequate, inaccessible, and/or poor medical care further exacerbates increasing healthcare costs that have broad implications for the overall quality of care experienced by all Americans.

The demand for long-term care services will explode as the population ages and more people live longer with chronic conditions. There are serious questions about both who will pay for that care and where and how that care should be delivered.

Preparing for end-of-life care and the pressing decisions that must be addressed at the point of death are taboo and often ignored topics. This unwillingness results in poor quality of care, failure to meet patient wishes, financial burdens and lasting remorse for caregivers and loved ones.

Growing abuse, misuse and dependence on prescription drugs, alcohol & illicit drugs has become a national public health crisis. This swelling epidemic is cutting lives short, creating economic disruptions and places a major burden on our legal and healthcare systems.

Pay for care not for health (fee-for-service, medical malpractice/defensive medicine and lack of payment for prevention): The drivers and incentives of today’s healthcare system are broken. Economic factors, such as, malpractice insurance, fee-for-service, financial kickbacks, etc. have removed the patient from the center of care. Insurance policies and premiums have forced patients to make decisions that often do not put their health first, and the pattern of care has become reactionary versus proactive. The misaligned incentives have created a system that too often works against the patient, not for them.

The current healthcare system is difficult to navigate and is made up of systems that are most often uncoordinated, creating great difficulties for patients and caregivers as they navigate the care system. This difficulty prevents one from receiving the right care at the right time in the right place and results in higher costs, substandard care and poor outcomes.

It is difficult for individuals and families to care for their health and pursue jobs that can provide economic self sufficiency as well as health insurance when they are unable to afford a place to live or because of housing costs are forced to live far from a job.


Nilima Achwal
Nilima AchwalProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): Behavioral Health Outcomes in teens
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Victoria St. John
Victoria St. JohnProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): TBD
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Elizabeth Ngonzi
Elizabeth NgonziProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): TBD
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Sean Kennedy
Sean KennedyProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): Reluctance and unwillingness to discuss death and dying
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Amy Luby
Amy LubyProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): TBD
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Ashish Mudgal
Ashish MudgalProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): Increasing demand and cost of long term care
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Adrian Reif
Adrian ReifProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): Affordable Housing
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Laura Rich
Laura RichProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): TBD
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
Wendy Jameson
Wendy JamesonProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): Complicated and Uncoordinated Healthcare
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18
William Tara
William TaraProspective CEO
Wicked Problem(s): TBD
10.10.10 Class: HD May’18