U.S. Government Embraces Prize Contests to Meet Challenges

Government contests offer different way to find solutions for problems
The Washington Post

The U.S. government is giving away prizes. In seeking solutions to problems, it has discovered the magic of contests, or challenges — also known as open grant-making or open innovation. Or crowd-sourcing.

Whatever you call this new way of doing business, it represents a dramatic departure from the norm for the bureaucratic, command-and-control federal government. To be sure, the agencies won’t abandon the traditional method of doling out grants to predictable bidders. But in the new era of innovation-by-contest, the government will sometimes identify a specific problem or goal, announce a competition, set some rules and let the game begin.


White House Looking for Prize Ideas


Thomas Kalil, the deputy director for policy with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, has posted a blog entry (reproduced below) in which he asks for ideas on prizes that the government could sponsor.

In recent years, there has been a renaissance in “incentive prizes” – which reward contestants for achieving a specific future goal.


Conrad Foundation Newest Partner: AIAA

Officials with The Conrad Foundation today announced the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the newest partner to support the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards.

The contest challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products for use in various fields of science and technology, including lunar exploration, personal spaceflight and renewable energy.