Got innovation? Well, we do!
On Wednesday May 28, the Challenge.gov team gathered the Challenges and Prizes Community of Practice. The group covered two topics:
- Highlights from challenge competitions run in 2013.
- Concepts and tips for working with solvers to build teams.
Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, shared the results of a recent report on challenge and prize competitions conducted under America COMPETES Act Authority.
Federal agencies are maturing and are no longer using challenges for communications and engagement purposes. They are now using them to get novel solutions from non-standard solvers.
Challenge and prize competitions are being used to frame future strategy. HUD’s Rebuild by Design and the National Eye Institute’s Audacious Goals for Research are great examples of this.
Got code? Challenges are becoming a great source of code, apps, algorithms, and shared service IT solutions, resulting in significant cost savings.
Prize purses are increasing.
Agencies are forging new paths to post-competition success.
Beth Beck from NASA talked about how to help teams form in challenge and prize competitions. Her advice was to remember that we all have some form of capital to bring to a team—intellectual, social, or physical.
Often, people think that only coders and technical people will be useful in competitions. But it is the designers, writers, and creative people that round out a team and even give an edge when it comes to presentations. NASA has a number of in-person events where they encourage people to work in teams, and they also have mechanisms for creating teams with virtual participants.
Charles Liarakos from the National Science Foundation also spoke, and said that it’s important to track whether teams stay together, and how well they continue to work. His organization has tracked the long-term effects of innovation teams and the results compared to a general workforce addressing the same issues. Liarakos told the audience that their multi-day work groups were intense and that the need to follow-up a few weeks and even months later is critical to understanding the impact.
In closing, make your teams, communities and challenge solvers care about your mission, because in the future, we will be crowdsourcing all the time. Not just during challenge and prize competitions.
To see all the conversation from this training session, check out Twitter hashtag #publicprizes.