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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.


Final Event & Networking Reception

An event that brings together the worlds of Behavioural Insights, Marketing, Innovation, Design and New Ventures!

Date: February 18, 2020 5pm
Venue: Fleck Atrium, Rotman School of Management
Keynote: Shilpa Tiwari, AVP Head of Sustainability, Manulife
Judging Panel:
Ned Welch, Adjunct Professor & Executive-in-Residence, Marketing Area, Rotman School of Management
Sasha Tregebov, Director, Behavioural Insights Team Canada
Jennifer Weeks, Director, Ideation & Prototyping, BEworks
Emily Dimytosh, Director, Global Marketing Strategy, Manulife
Registration: All are welcome, register below 

Register Now


Finalists & Pitches

Team Eco-Fridge

"Empowering grocery shoppers to reduce food waste with technology that analyzes consumption and incentivizes sustainable decisions."

  • Anna Nabutovsky (Psychology & Statistics)
  • Disha Mittal (Business Management & Economics)
  • Ishaan Kohli (Biophysics & Computer Science)

Team PlanetBox

"A simple to use, no planning required, social food-ordering system that provides vendors access to environmentally conscious, repeat customers, making it easy to reduce single-use containers."

  • James Hitchcock (Part-Time MBA)
  • Shannon Townsend (Part-Time MBA)
  • Reid McKay (Part-Time MBA)
  • Stefan Sawicky (Part-Time MBA)
  • James Sawyer (Part-Time MBA)
  • Sam Salama (Part-Time MBA)

Team Retrofit

"Supporting sustainability by using AI to recombine second-hand clothes into fashionable new ones"

  • Devansh Khare (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Mybtaseem Zaman (Electrical Engineering)
  • Jona Thai (Industrial Engineering)
  • Akshit Goyal (Computer Science)
  • Sadat Anwar (Architecture)

Team Swate

"Swate is an application that aims to decrease household food waste by using behavioural science concepts to help people to manage their food purchasing and consumption habits."

  • Jamie Lee (Rotman Commerce)
  • Judson Asiruwa (Rotman Commerce)
  • Jane Illarionova (Computer Engineering)

Team Upwaste

"A time-saving, food-waste management solution that promotes sustainable behaviours."

  • Korawit Booranakit (Full-Time MBA)
  • Syeda Salwa Bakht (Full-Time MBA)
  • Aikansh Jain (Full-Time MBA)
  • Sidd Phanasgaonkar (Full-Time MBA)
  • Joel John (Full-Time MBA)


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. 
  • 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).
  • Visit the MSC2021 resources page to find resources on market for self-control, new product development, how to make a successful pitch, and interviews with past MSC winners.
  • Prepare and submit a video submission along with 1-2 pages of exhibits/details by 27 January 2021 5:00 PM. 
  • Refine your pitching skills and get a shot at a cash prize. The winning team takes away $10,000.


The Challenge               

The Challenge

Each team will identify a specific behaviour in which they believe people lack self-control, 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 indicate 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.

This year, the challenge will be a 1-round only event (100% online). Student teams will prepare a 7-minute video (maximum) along with 1-2 pages of exhibits/details. An online submission link will be available here on this page soon.

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 23, 2020 (Mon)

Registration Opens

January 13, 2021 (Wed)

Registration Closes (Jan 13, 5PM)

January 27, 2021 (Wed)

Video submission due (Jan 27, 5PM)

February 11, 2021 (Thurs) Announcing the winning team (livestream via Zoom)