Analysis

Prize competitions

Looking ahead: Key prize developments on the horizon

Business-as-usual approaches to problem solving are coming up short as societies around the world face growing needs far faster than their governments can craft solutions. Challenges and prizes are just one set of tools in this evolving public sector toolkit that is particularly effective at soliciting the best ideas from a wide range of actors. As more government agencies design their own prizes, the general landscape will continue to change.

The renaissance of public sector prize competitions

A brief comparative analysis of trends in the US and Europe

No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.

Governments and other institutions have long known the truth behind Joy's Law, and have been using prize competitions to draw out those hidden innovators and to capitalize on their problem-solving horsepower. During the past decade, there has been a renewed interest in prize competitions in the US and Europe. As prizes continue to grow in popularity, we are seeing similarities and differences emerge across continents and in the future, we believe prizes will likely continue to attract an ever-growing number of citizen problem solvers and gain legitimacy among a wide variety of institutions.

Prize design workbook

Getting started with developing ambitious prizes

Prizes and challenges spur innovation, solve tough problems, and advance core missions. This workbook will give you a better understanding of what prizes are (and what they're not) and how to get started in designing them.

The many ways to pay for results

Funding options for innovation and success

A great deal of social and public sector funding has focused on activities, rather than outcomes. Often, funders pay organizations if they promise to do what funders say they want. But sometimes, these efforts fall short of achieving outcomes for the people and communities at stake. What if funders could define the outcomes they wanted to achieve, and pay for those outcomes instead? In the last few years, there has been enormous innovation in funding, with new ways to pay for results.

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