Challenges and Prize Competitions

Results Report: Robots Created for Competitions to Help Ebola Response

Oct 27, 2014 |

Challenge competitions were recently highlighted as two potential solutions to help with the Ebola crisis responses. The first is a grand challenge launched Oct. 17, 2014, by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID): Ebola: A Grand Challenge for Development. The goal: To help health care workers on the front lines provide better care and stop Read »

Introducing the New

Oct 2, 2014 | now hosts the full federal-wide listing of crowdsourcing competitions and has a back-end platform for agencies to create and manage their competitions. The site is managed and produced within GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology (OCSIT) group. The main feature is a complete Read »

Advice from USAID on Prize Competition Communication Strategies

Sep 29, 2014 |

A well-developed communications plan is critical to the success of a challenge competition, but too often it is one item managers leave to consider at the end of prize design. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Jarah Meador shared the Desal Prize plan and results in the September 16 webinar, “Why Your Gov Read »

Helpful Hints: Writing RFPs So Real Businesses Can Respond

Sep 15, 2014 |

If you have a hand in contracts for crowdsourcing initiatives and challenge and prize competitions, here are some helpful hints for you. We’ve gathered this list from the expert businesses that provide competition services. Haven’t heard about that? See GSA Schedule 541-4G. Background: Over the last two years, competition providers and consultants have become more Read »

Cheaters, Thieves, Saboteurs & Other Nefarious Competitors

Sep 11, 2014 |

Challenge and prize competitions are competitive and not always squeaky clean. There are a few things we’ve noticed and noted in our experience over the last four years with challenge competitions run by federal agencies and studying others in the private sector. Read »

FTC Awards Five Winners from #DEFCON22 Robocall Honeypot Challenge

Aug 29, 2014 |

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had such great success with their first robocall challenge competition that the agency decided to take a different angle this year—targeting the skilled hackers at DEF CON 22, the annual defense conference in Las Vegas in early August. Five winners earned cash prizes and bragging rights for their creative technical Read »

The API Briefing: Mining the Rich Data Resources of NASA – The International Space Apps Challenges

Aug 27, 2014 |

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has an enormous collection of aerospace and science data sets. NASA missions and projects can create amazing amounts of data. One example: the Earth Observing System Data and Information System has collected enough information to fill the Library of Congress ( A more recent example: the Solar Dynamics Read »

Challenge, Contract or Grant – Which tool is right for the job?

Aug 14, 2014 |

Choosing between a contract, a grant, or a public prize competition to get solutions to the problems your agency faces is a difficult task. Each is a tool that has different qualities and each might be the best choice for varying situations. Sam Ortega, the manager of the Centennial Challenges program at NASA, spoke about Read »

Deloitte Analysis: Craft of Incentive Prize Design

Jun 26, 2014 |

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 Read »

Introductory Call for the Disaster Apps Challenge

May 20, 2014 |

The National Defense University (NDU) is hosting a conference call Friday, May 23, to spread the word about the Disaster Apps Challenge Competition, which opened yesterday. This call is open to the public, specifically the people who are interested Read »

Citizen Engagement at NASA

May 12, 2014 |

Recently, the White House hosted Stakeholder Engagement Workshops—an informal meet-up for citizens and federal agencies to discuss progress on Open Government. The third version of our Open Gov Plan is due June 1st. My Open Innovation teammates and I took the opportunity to attend the event. We gained valuable insights from citizen activists on what Read »

New White House Report: Prize Competition Use Increased 85% in 2013

May 7, 2014 |

We are thrilled to share an update from our competition colleagues at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The third annual comprehensive report detailing the use of prizes and Read »

Get Started with Challenge and Prize Competitions

Mar 31, 2014 |

Interested in running a challenge and prize competition, but don’t know where to start? Well, here are all the resources GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies has to offer: 1) Put your agency’s challenges on this government-wide listing and learn about more than 300 public Read »

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. You need to measure success right Read »

We Love it When a Plan Comes Together…

Mar 10, 2014 | ,

Federal agencies are currently hard at work developing revised Open Government Plans—blueprints that are published every two years, highlighting agency progress towards making their work more transparent, participatory, and collaborative, and outlining new open government commitments going forward. This iterative, biennial process grew out of the December 2009 Open Government Read »