Ten days ago US president Barack Obama called upon everyone to come up with innovative ideas to fight the escalating Ebola epidemic. USAID teamed up with OpenIDEO, the collaborative platform for innovative design, to organise Fighting Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development. In the first phase, through OpenIDEO, the world’s creative community is invited to come up with ideas on how to rapidly equip and empower the care community to fight Ebola.

“We are inviting our global community to participate in critical knowledge-gathering, collaboration and ideation to generate actionable solutions to the Ebola epidemic,” the brief reads. The challenge only takes a month and ends November 7th. Already some 70 ideas have been contributed, including many proposals for cooling down the protective suits of health workers, ideas for better informing local communities on Ebola, as well as the idea to give away holy books equipped with sensors and GPS-tracker. Such gifts will not be denied, and when opened many times an outbreak can be presumed and located.

All ideas are open for comment from others, so that collaboratively ideas can be brought to a next level. Eventually, strong ideas may be encouraged to apply for funding in subsequent components of the Grand Challenge for Development by USAID and its partners. Now the creative community can demonstrate what design can do.