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This October, the White House Celebrates Over $150 Million in Prize Competitions Since 2010

Announcing events on October 7 and 8 celebrating the successes of prizes and challenges in solving complex problems.

Since entering office, the Obama Administration has taken important steps to make prize competitions and challenges standard tools for innovation at every Federal agency.

To celebrate the accomplishments of these competitions and to inspire the next generation of ambitious, cross-sector prizes, the White House, the General Services Administration (GSA), nonprofits, and academic institutions will host back-to-back events in Washington, DC, one on October 7 and the other on October 8, in Washington DC.  These two events will highlight the impact of open innovation in the Federal government and across sectors, as well as celebrate the successes of The hashtag #PublicPrizes will be used for both events.

The White House, the Case Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and Georgetown University are hosting a one-day, invite-only event on October 7 titled “All Hands on Deck: Solving Complex Problems through Prizes and Challenges” that will provide Federal, state, and local government leaders, foundation staff, and private-sector supporters, with concrete tools for designing more ambitious prizes and effectively using incentive prizes to improve outcomes in addressing complex social, policy, and technological challenges in national priority areas ranging from water and food, to energy and the environment, to place and opportunity. The event will also include expert panels, interactive prize-design discussions, and hands-on problem-solving roundtables to help attendees:

  • Understand current best practices for implementing public-sector prizes, and have an honest conversation with practitioners about what works and what does not;
  • Develop more ambitious prizes that tackle diverse challenges across all segments of the society; and
  • Overcome hurdles unique to government agencies in the design and administration of prize competitions.

On October 8, GSA will host a community of more than 300 prize practitioners to celebrate the great accomplishments of public sector prizes at a five-year anniversary event for Upwards of 80 agencies have used—a no-cost platform—since its debut, launching more than 440 challenges with prizes totaling over $150 million. Some 200,000 solvers—a mix of entrepreneurs, budding citizen scientists, students, and more—have participated in these challenges to solve important local, national, and global problems. The October 8 event at GSA will highlight the critical role that challenges and prizes have played in Federal government innovation and will honor those who have helped this community thrive.

Be sure to register for the October 8 event—even if you cannot attend in person—to get information about the live webcast. The event will feature a variety of activities of interest both from a Federal and industry perspective, including:

  • Keynote speeches from leaders in the White House and GSA;
  • Vendor showcases and lightning talks for the Federal community to learn about professional vendor services, capabilities, and current challenge-development work;
  • Awards to recognize teams and individuals who have raised the bar on prize design and incentives and/or led the adoption of challenges in the Federal government;
  • Unveiling the new technical platform and expanded program and capabilities.

Jenn Gustetic is Assistant Director for Open Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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