Two years after the Obama Administration created Challenge.gov, the first online listing of incentive prizes offered or supported by Federal agencies, the innovative site has hit an impressive milestone: its 200th listing of a challenge in search of a solution by the American public. Launched on September 7, 2010, the site has hosted challenges posted by 45 departments and agencies; more than 16,000 citizen “solvers” have participated in these competitions directly on Challenge.gov, with additional entrants joining the competitions through other sources.
This benchmark shows the impact made by the Administration’s efforts to make incentive prizes a tool in Federal agency toolkits for seeking innovative solutions to address agency mission and solve tough problems. Well-designed incentive prizes enable Federal agencies to establish ambitious goals, pay only for success, reach beyond the “usual suspects” to increase the number of minds tackling a problem, and bring out-of-discipline perspectives to bear. New public-sector prizes and challenges continue to be launched.
Last week, the U.S. Department of State launched the $10K Innovation in Arms Control Challenge. Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller summarized the goals of the competition: “Through this Challenge, we will collect new ideas about how innovation and technological advancement can affect the implementation of arms control, verification, and nonproliferation treaties and agreements,” and added, “Inspired by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emphasis on harnessing new technologies and 21st century statecraft, we have been working to elevate American "civilian power" to advance our national security interests, making partners of the United States government and its citizens.”
Other recently launched competitions include:
Check out these and other incentive prizes and challenges and get involved in solving tough problems at Challenge.gov.
Cristin Dorgelo is Assistant Director for Grand Challenges in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy