For Government Organizations
Using prizes for public benefit is not new, yet for some reason it remains unfamiliar to most state and federal agencies. If government-sponsored public participation challenges and incentive prizes have been so successful for more than 300 years, then why aren’t they more prevalent today? Especially at a time when it’s easier than ever to reach target groups of participants, and the cost is lower than ever due to sophisticated contest platforms like Skild. We’re admittedly biased, but we’re not the only ones who envision a bright future for government agencies that adopt prizes and challenges as effective levers of change.
Open & Transparent Government
On March 8, 2010 the White House’s Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum to all heads of executive departments and agencies providing guidance on the use of challenges, prizes, and other incentive-backed strategies to find innovative or cost-effective solutions to improving open government. In this memo, the Administration strongly encourages agencies to:
- “Utilize prizes and challenges as tools for advancing open government, innovation, and the agency’s mission...
- "Select one or more individuals to identify and implement prizes and challenges, potentially in partnership with outside organizations, and to participate in a government-wide “community of practice” led by the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy and...
- "Increase their capacity to support, design, and manage prizes, potentially in collaboration with external partners."
Skild has participated in a number of discussions with the OMB, OSTP, GSA and other Federal Agencies about the use of challenges and prizes as policy tools to harness innovation and improve open government. And it’s refreshing to see more and more contests in the public sector each year.
Potential Benefits of Prizes
The Administration also outlined the following key benefits, which may allow the government to:
- “Establish an important goal without having to choose the approach or the team that is most likely to succeed;
- Pay only for results;
- Highlight excellence in a particular domain of human endeavor to motivate, inspire, and guide others;
- Increase the number and diversity of the individuals, organizations, and teams that are addressing a particular problem or challenge of national or international significance;
- Improve the skills of the participants in the competition;
- Stimulate private sector investment that is many times greater than the cash value of the prize;
- Further a Federal agency’s mission by attracting more interest and attention to a defined program, activity, or issue of concern; and
- Capture the public imagination and change the public’s perception of what is possible.”