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GCN : June 2014
GCN JUNE 2014 • GCN.COM 9 Challenge.gov, launched in September 2010, has become a one-stop shop for agencies looking for ways to use prizes and public challenges to encour- age citizens to help solve government problems. By September 2013, the site featured more than 280 competitions from more than 45 federal agencies, according to Cristin Dorgelo, assistant director for grand challenges in the Of ce of Sci- ence and Technology Policy, writing on the White House blog. In its latest annual report on the state of challenges, OSTP encourages agen- cies to test new ways to set up compe- titions, including: • Establish an ambitious goal. • Pay only for success without having to predict which approach is most likely to succeed. • Bring non-traditional or "out-of-disci- pline" perspectives to bear. According to the OSTP report, the number of competitions and the size of prize purses have grown in recent years. In 2013, for instance, 11 competitions had prize purses of $100,000 or greater. Challenges are increasingly being used to identify novel solutions, said OSTP, and more prizes have been awarded for low-cost software and IT solutions. Along those lines, the report found that nearly half of the prizes in scal year 2013 sought software solu- tions including apps, data visualiza- tion tools and predictive models and algorithms. Challenge managers are also experi- menting with new ways to engage the public to participate in competitions. Among the methods the report found and recommended: • The use of "co-design" online plat- forms to integrate user needs into the design of solutions. • Publication of winning solutions as open source resources. • The use of crowdfunding to support entrants. According to Dorgelo's blog, agen- cies' progress with challenges is also "due to important steps that the Obama administration has taken to make prizes a standard tool in every agency's tool- box." GSA offers a variety of resources for hosting a challenge, and recently added an "ideation platform" --- a WordPress-based challenge building tool --- to help agencies develop their own external, public-facing crowd sourcing competitions. • How challenges help government innovate BY SUSAN MILLER SPECIAL REPORT ONLINE REPORT SPONSORED BY: Agencies deepen investments in cloud solutions Hybrid model key to the future of cloud Cloud security initiatives gains momentum 2014: A turning point for FedRAMP Cloud brokers could ease acquisition burden Topics Include: Cloud in 2014 A Guide for Government TO LEARN MORE, VISIT: GCN.com/Cloud2014