The Great Paper Plane Contest

What is this about?

All attendees at the 2019 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care will be given the chance to turn a flyer into a flier! Design Science is facilitating a paper airplane throwing competition during the 10:30 am sessions on Tuesday, March 26th.

The competition will take place between sessions 2 and 3 of MDD11 – Novel Methods for Medical Device Design. Before the contest, Larry McGrath and Nicholas Zampa of Biogen will be co-presenting “Emergency Ethnography: Using Observational Research to Promote Efficient Drug Delivery in Hospitals.” Following the contest, Peter Sneeringer and Christoph Jordi of Ypsomed will be co-presenting “Introducing a Methods Toolbox to Quantitatively Assess Patient Capabilities During Autoinjector Use: Insights from a Formative Human Factors Study.”

How do I participate?


  • Furthest flight (distance) will be the metric for winning.
  • Only one entry per person.
  • Entries can be made from any piece of letter (8.5 x 11 in.) paper—it doesn’t have to be the Design Science flyer.
  • Participants must write their first and last name on their entry.
  • Entries can be folded into any design of your choosing.
  • Entries must resemble planes (i.e., a crumpled piece of paper in the shape of a ball does not qualify).Entries cannot have adhesives (e.g., tape, glue) or weights (e.g., paper clips).


  1. Participants will line up behind a pre-determined line.
  2. Participants will throw their planes when a Contest Official gives the go-ahead.
    Note: Depending on interest in the contest, we may have multiple time slots for throwing so that participants will have enough “elbow room.”
  3. After throwing their plane, participants will NOT touch their plane, or anyone else’s, until the contest is completed.
  4. Contest officials will measure, review, and determine the winner.
  5. Winner will be announced at the end of our 2nd presentation.
  6. Winner may select an Apple Watch (up to $399 value).
  7. DS will order and ship the watch to the winner.

Important: If you do not follow these rules and instructions, you will be disqualified.

Why are we doing this?

We believe that bag inserts are wasteful! Most bag inserts are thrown out without a second look. We challenge this conference of usability experts to find a better way to promote your services and engage your users.