Challenges accepted

The World vs.MS



4 minutes, 32 seconds

It’s 22nd June 2016. Ireland’s football team face arguably their toughest ever challenge in opponents Italy, but it’s not just Ireland fans who are feeling the pressure…
The same day, our Judging Panel arrive in Dublin, each member aware of the task at hand. Whilst the boys in green are going head-to-head with the Italians 439 miles away in Lille, Jacqueline, Harriet, Jeremy and Dan meet for what may just be the most important day of The World vs.MS so far. Together they must decide which three challenges, from the 103 we have received, will be selected to form our final challenge briefs.

The venue is MS Ireland’s Care Centre, the only respite and therapy centre for people living with MS in the country. From flower arranging to yoga, there are a whole host of activities guests can choose from as part of a therapy programme tailored specifically to them. The day begins with a quick tour of the facilities, revealing just how much work and dedication is required to keep the centre running.

It also gives our four judges the chance to get to know each other a little better. Harriet Doig is Information, Advocacy and Research Officer for MS Ireland, and her knowledge of the issues which matter most to the MS community helps us to identify the challenges that are most widespread. And it’s this knowledge, coupled with the fitting location of the care centre, which allows the whole panel to fully immerse themselves in the challenges MS presents.

Joining Harriet is Dan Smith, Commercial Editor and Promotions Coordinator at WIRED. His background in writing about technology and innovation offers a totally fresh perspective on MS and the shortlisted challenges. Jeremy Ambrose is the third member of our Judging Panel. As an Excellence Engineer at Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator, he works closely with new start-ups to help them develop key business skills. His experience in bringing products to market ensures that feasibility remains a key consideration. Last but by no means least, is Jacqueline Barendregt, Commercial Director of MS Europe at Sanofi Genzyme, who has been involved in The World vs.MS from day one. Her patient-focussed approach helps to break the challenges down and allows the other judges to realise the full implications of each.

After lunch, it’s down to business. The Panel quickly identifies four key themes: facilities and bladder issues, mobility, exercise and cognition. For each of these, they select three challenges they feel are most representative of the wider MS community. They then narrow these challenges down to the final three which they believe, if solved, would provide the greatest benefit to the MS community.

After much debate and deliberation, our judges have their shortlist and share a collective sigh of relief (as do the Ireland football team who win 1-0!). Their job is done and now it falls to us to really get to know the people behind each challenge – their hobbies and interests, hopes and aspirations, and the areas of their life affected most by their challenge. Equipped with this information, we’ll create three briefs and share these with you in September. Stay tuned!


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