Types of challenges–ideation, software and apps, creative and tech–and the platforms and tools for success.

Key to Successful Prize Competitions: Define Your Problem Statement

Nov 13, 2013 |

In a prize competition, failing to properly define your problem up front can result in lower participation and submissions that don’t actually solve your issue. To create a challenge that produces viable results, start by doing your own homework. Vaguely defined problems invite less-than-desirable solutions or scare Read »

Software and Apps Challenges

Nov 6, 2013 |

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems—whether technical, scientific, or creative. One type of competition is software and apps challenges, where solvers are asked to develop specific software or other code-based technical solutions, such as websites, mobile applications, or algorithms. Here you’ll find tips Read »

Federal Government Challenges and Contests

Nov 1, 2013 |

What is a Challenge? In a challenge, a “seeker” challenges “solvers” to identify a solution to a particular problem, or rewards contestants for accomplishing a goal. The solutions may be: ideas, designs, logos, videos, finished products, digital games, or mobile applications. There are many challenge success stories in government: Challenges Conducted in 2011 Under America COMPETES Act Read »

Technology Demonstration and Market Stimulation Challenges

Oct 31, 2013 |

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems—whether technical, scientific, or creative. One type of competition is technology demonstration and market stimulation prizes, competitions that result in fully developed solutions to address market failures, solve significant problems facing society, or catalyze and demonstrate breakthrough technical Read »

Thousands of Calls Blocked, Thanks to Contest Winner

Oct 25, 2013 |

Technology to block robocalls is a huge win for consumers and for challenge competitions this year. The FTC awarded a prize to Aaron Foss, creator of Nomorobo, in April. The technology went to market September 30, and the tool has already blocked more Read »

Partnerships Can Add Value to Prize Competitions

Oct 21, 2013 |

The right partner can be the key to a successful challenge competition. If you’re planning a challenge for your agency, you’ve probably had to ask: “Do we have the tools and capabilities to pull off this challenge on our own?” Why we form partnerships Often times, the answer is, “no.” But that shouldn’t stop you from Read »

Planning an Apps Challenge

May 8, 2013 |

Apps challenges are a great way to spur innovation and help your agency meet its mission. But before you jump in, learn about how apps challenges work, to ensure yours is successful. Design Concept or Functioning App? What kind of product do you want from your apps challenge? A working app; or A concept for Read »

Harvard’s Top 25 Innovations in Government

May 1, 2013 |

Nine federal programs made the list! Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation announced the Top 25 Innovations in Government May 1. A winner and four finalists will be revealed this fall. The Washington Post described how Harvard’s review Read »

USAID, HHS & DOL Mobile Gov App Challenge Winners

Mar 7, 2013

One way federal agencies create Mobile Gov products is through third party development. Some agencies use platforms like to get the word out to developers and there have been 3 mobile app challenge awards so far this Read »

How to Improve an Apps Challenge

Jul 9, 2012 |

The contest is over, but your work isn’t finished. Maintain a positive relationship with the community you’ve developed around your challenge. You will want to reach out to them in the future. Close the challenge and present awards Hold an awards ceremony to draw attention to the winners and to your challenge. The team behind Read »

How to Implement an Apps Challenge

Jul 9, 2012 |

Recruiting the right judges, writing clear rules, and ensuring the public can find your apps challenge online will help ensure success. Recruit the judges Reach out to those who have expertise in your topic or are influential in the area. Well-known judges will help you draw attention to your challenge, and the judges are likely Read »