IOP Policy Innovation Challenge



The Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School is excited to announce an innovation policy challenge led by the Institute’s Visiting Fellows former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.

This hackathon-style competition, titled Road to 2092: Save Social Security, encourages college and graduate students to identify creative policy solutions to save Social Security for future generations.

The Problem

Social Security as we know it is in trouble. If serious policy reform isn't undertaken soon, the next generation will not be in a position to draw the same benefits as previous generations. 

The Event

On Sunday, April 14th, students will gather at Harvard Kennedy School to develop policy proposals and pitch their solutions to a panel of experts, featuring Sen. Heitkamp and Cohn. This interdisciplinary competition brings together students from across majors and disciplines, tapping into their expertise in areas such as economics, statistics, computer science, and government.

All teams participating on Sunday will deliver elevator pitches to Gary and Heidi at submission time.

The competition will commence with the release of the competition terms sheet, rules and requirements, and directions for teams. All documents will be released on Saturday, April 13th at noon. Teams are free to begin working following the release of materials.

The top 5 finalist teams will be announced at 12pm EST on Monday, April 15th and will present their proposals later that evening in the JFK Jr. Forum. 

The Prize

Later this spring, Sen. Heitkamp and Gary Cohn will travel to Washington, D.C. with the winning team to present the policy proposal to Members of Congress and Trump Administration officials.


This innovation challenge and award presentation will both be held in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. We are located at 79 John F. Kennedy Street, and you can find detailed directions here.


We invite you to participate in this exciting initiative by registering below. Participants will compete in teams of two (2) to six (6). You can either join as a team now or coordinate with other participants later on. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Miguel Undurraga at

This challenge is open to enrolled students at undergraduate and graduate programs.