Six Tips for Measuring Success in Challenge Competitions

Mar 20, 2014

You’ve run a challenge and prize competition, selected your winners, and distributed the prizes. If you think you’re done, guess again. There’s much more to challenge and prize competition success than getting a solution that solves your problem or meets the criteria.

A measuring tape is next to the word success.

You need to measure success right after your challenge as you work to implement the winning solution. But you also need to measure success over time by keeping in touch with your winners and the other contestants. Set aside time on your calendar to follow up by phone or email. Continually measure success and communicate all this information up your chain of command.

Here are just a few measures of success:

  • Return on investment. For the prize money, what is the value of what you received? Based on participation in your challenge, did a winner or contestant expand their business and create jobs?

  • Cost effectiveness. Was your challenge less expensive and/or faster than a traditional grant or procurement?

  • Quantity/quality/viability/diversity of submissions. Did you get more submissions than you expected? How many of them met or exceeded the criteria? How many of them were viable? How many of the participants were new to the industry versus known players?

  • Performance improvement compared to current solutions. Is the solution that came out of your challenge more efficient than your current practices? Will you be able to save time and solve your problem faster, as a result of what you learned in your challenge? Remember, you can even learn from submissions that didn’t win.

  • Awareness. This includes traditional media press coverage, as well as social media (tweets using your challenge hashtag, re-tweets). Are your solvers now more aware of your agency’s programs and data sets? Did they ask for more information? A great example: After the EPA Apps for the Environment Challenge, coders continued to develops apps with the data.

  • Partner satisfaction and engagement. Were your challenge partners engaged and satisfied with their participation? Would they partner with you on another challenge?

For more information, refer back to the videos and slides from DigitalGov University’s training on this topic.

Metrics and Measuring for Results

Presenter: Tammi Marcoullier, GSA,

Metrics and Measuring for Success

Presenter: Cristin Dorgelo, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy