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The Trend is Diversity, in Challenge and Prize Competitions

Challenges are a first step/front door to problem solving with the public. Photo shows a collage of Kiev front doors in the Ukraine, representing diversity.

The U.S. government has launched more than 45 challenge and prize competitions so far in Fiscal Year 2014. What trends are we seeing? Well, the trend is…diversity. That might sound like an oxymoron, but federal agencies are really putting themselves out there, asking the crowd to help tackle a wide array of problems.

Until August 3rd, NASA is seeking ways to improve email for astronauts on the International Space Station. The Small Business Administration is looking for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each to fund operating budgets. Citizens can submit their ideas through TopCoder.com, or by filling out a simple Web form.

The diversity trend continues, with the many platforms and websites federal agencies are using to power challenge and prize competitions. HHS‘s Office of the National Health Coordinator is using GSA’s sites.usa.gov tool, built in WordPress, to run their Innovations in Hypertension Challenge. The Department of Energy is using their own website—energy.gov—to accept submissions in their Microgrid MVP Challenge. NASA is using Innocentive.com to power their New Ways to Analyze Climate and Earth Science Data Challenge.

If you need any information about challenge platforms, let us know. There are many options, including contractors on GSA’s Schedule for Challenge and Competition Services (541 4G) and the sites.usa.gov WordPress tool. The Challenge.gov team will also review your planning documents, or talk with you during our weekly office hours. Join our community to get reminders, and meet other people who can give you feedback on your challenge competition.

So don’t delay! Be part of the movement and try crowdsourcing.

This article is part of this month’s editorial theme on our DigitalGov Communities. Check out more articles related to this theme.

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