Crowdsourcing with Challenge.gov
Benefits of Crowdsourcing & Open Innovation Competitions
Competitions are one tool that federal agencies can use to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems—whether technical, scientific, or creative. More than 300 challenges have been run in federal government since 2010. Incentive competitions have been around for centuries, including the 1927 Orteig Prize, which led to Charles Lindbergh’s famous transatlantic flight and advances in aerospace.
There are a myriad ways to prepare, manage, and measure results for your competition. Throughout these pages, you’ll find policies, on-demand training, tips, resources, examples, and lists of technical platforms (along with vendors that are on GSA’s General Schedule 541-4G) to support you in launching and hosting a successful crowdsourcing and prize competition.
The Challenge.gov platform provides a central, online space for agencies to post challenges, and at the same time, allows the public to find federal challenges. This is the one-stop repository for the public to discover and engage with federal agencies that are running crowdsourcing competitions.
The Ideation competition platform is designed for agencies to host crowdsourcing contests that solicit ideas and concepts from the public. For example, Treasury asked people what type of financial applications they would use and later had a competition for developers to create those apps. All of these competitions are listed on challenge.gov.
Among the benefits outlined in OMB’s 2010 memo (PDF, 94 KB, 12 pages, March 2010), challenges:
- 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 addressing a particular problem; or promote the challenge to 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’s imagination and change the public perception of what is possible.