Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Main Content

Manulife New Product Challenge: The Market for Self-Control 2020

Develop and pitch a new product concept in the domain of encouraging sustainable behaviours

The Challenge is hosted by BEAR (Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman) and offered in collaboration with Rotman DesignWorks and CDL (Creative Destruction Lab) with thanks to our Presenting Sponsor Manulife.


Register Now

Info session on Nov 28 @ Rotman - see below for details

Info Session Slide Deck (PDF)


Questions? Contact

The Challenge in a Nutshell

The Challenge in a Nutshell

Open to ALL UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO STUDENTS currently enrolled in a degree program are encouraged to participate. This includes both full-time and part-time students, across all campuses.


  • In a team of 4 to 6, develop a product (or service) concept in the domain of self-control.

    This year, we challenge students to think about how self-control affects Sustainability Issues such as recycling, reducing waste (i.e. food, throwaway containers, textile, e-waste, etc.), littering, sustainable transportation (i.e. cycling and public transportation), and saving energy. 
  • Then develop a business plan for a new-venture around that product and pitch your idea. You will need to present evidence of feasibility and a tested or testable prototype (low-fidelity OK).
  • Attend an information session on the challenge on 28 November 2019 at the Rotman School (RT1065, 4-6 PM), and then prepare first round submissions by 15 January 2020 5:00 PM. 
  • Five finalists will be chosen to make final pitches to a group of advisors and executives on 18 February 2020.
  • Refine your pitching skills and get a shot at a cash prize. The winning team takes away $10,000, finalists receive $1000.


The Challenge               

The Challenge

Each team will identify a specific behaviour in which they believe people lack self-control in the domain of encouraging sustainable behaviours, and then develop a product concept to address this lack of self-control. The new product idea you come up with should meet a few criteria:

  1. Be based on some research and analyses that indicates a need for the product.
  2. Be a physical product, a service or a technological product (e.g., an app or a website) or a combination of the three.
  3. Be feasible: It should be within the realms of existing technology.

Then develop a business plan for a start-up venture that could launch your new product and be prepared to pitch your ideas. In your submissions, the judging panel will need to be convinced of the feasibility of the product. One way of doing this is to present a wireframe or prototype. Another way is to get the opinion of an expert, a manufacturer or a developer supporting the feasibility.

  • Round 1: Prepare a 4-minute video (maximum) and a 500 word summary, link will be available here on this page soon.
  • Round 2: In-person pitches

The Market for Self-Control

The Market for Self-Control

Research in behavioural economics finds that many consumers lack the willpower and motivation to act on many of their desires and goals. For instance, many consumers who wish they saved more for retirement or exercised regularly are unable to do so. There is a growing gap between consumers' intentions and actual behaviour; a gap that many consumers are often acutely aware of.

Fortunately, this growing intention-action gap creates a market for self-control products. Examples of self-control products include Clocky: The Runaway Alarm Clock (a clock that runs away when the snooze button is activated), KSafe (a time-locking jar that restricts access to goodies, smartphones or game consoles), Stickk (a website that uses incentives and peer-effects to encourage people to stick to goals), and several apps that block access to the Internet to allow people to get work done!



November 1, 2019

Registration Opens

November 28, 2019

Information Session

The info session will be held at the Rotman School of Management (Room 1065), 4pm-6pm (we aim to end at 5pm, leaving the rest of the time for questions).

January 10, 2020

Registration Closes (Jan 10, 5PM)

January 15, 2020

First round video submission due (Jan 15, 5PM)

January 22, 2020

Finalists are notified

January 24, 2020– February 18, 2020

Teams work with coaches
February 18, 2020 Final Pitches and Networking Reception

© Rotman School of ManagementAASCB