Deloitte Analysis: Craft of Incentive Prize Design

Sidebar stats, Outcome benefits, from the report titled, The craft of incentive prize design - Lessons from the public sector

Federal challenge and prize competitions are in the news again.

Our colleagues across government participated in research that resulted in a new report released June 19 from Deloitte University Press, The Craft of Prize Design: Lessons from the public sector.

In the last five years, incentive prizes have transformed from an exotic open innovation tool to a proven innovation strategy for the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Incentive prizes seem deceptively simple: Identify a problem, create and publicize a prize-based challenge for solving that problem, sign up diverse participants, and offer a reward to the winner. In practice, designing prizes that target the right problem, attract the most capable participants, and capture the imagination of the public to successfully achieve a desired outcome involves a complex set of design choices. This report aims to help prize designers organize and master those choices.

Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy writes:

“The report covers in depth the lessons learned and best practices identified from over 350 prizes conducted by the Federal government and over 50 prizes conducted by state, local, and philanthropic leaders. The report was produced by Doblin – Deloitte’s innovation practice, in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Case Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Reflecting all of your hard work and creativity over the last few years, The Craft of Prize Design identifies our Administration as a leader in advancing the craft of designing robust prizes that engage citizen solvers to solve tough problems and spur innovation.

Much as the 2009 McKinsey Report And the Winner Is… served to inspire a growth in the use of prizes by government and philanthropy, I believe this new report will serve both as a useful third-party summary of our Administration’s accomplishments on adopting prizes as a tool for open innovation and, I think, will be a powerful and practical tool for our community of practices to advance our practice of designing and administering high-impact prizes.”

The study shares practical lessons:

  • What types of outcomes incentive prizes help to achieve
  • What design elements prize designers use to create these challenges
  • How to make smart design choices when launching an incentive prize to achieve a particular outcome

You are encouraged to share this resource with colleagues and others interested in federal prize competition design. Stay tuned for a plan to have the community to gather later this summer and discuss what was learned.

Figure 4, Major outcomes for incentive prize design, from the report titled, The craft of incentive prize design - Lessons from the public sector

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