Winner – Harvard’s Innovations in American Government Award

Challenge.gov earned the honor of being selected from a pool of over 600 applicants, for the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award. This award is given every two years by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School. According to the press release announcing the finalist selections, “winners are chosen based on novelty, effectiveness, significance, and the degree to which their innovations can inspire replication in other government entities.”

Introduction to Challenge.gov

Challenge.gov is a technical platform and list of challenge and prize competitions, all of which are run by more than 69 agencies across federal government. These include technical, scientific, ideation, and creative competitions where the U.S. government seeks innovative solutions from the public, bringing the best ideas and talent together to solve mission-centric problems.

You will find hundreds of competitions that cover a wide range of interests and require varying levels of skills and abilities in order to participate. You can discover something of interest to you, sorting by type of challenge and by the agency hosting the competition. They are listed in chronological order, from most recent launched to older, closed competitions going back to 2010.

Challenge.gov is administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in partnership with agencies across government and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Find us on Twitter @ChallengeGov and facebook.com/ChallengeGov

 

Learn More About Challenge & Prize Competitions

Challenge and prize competitions are one path that federal agencies take to drive innovation and solve mission-centric problems — whether technical, scientific, or creative. More than 375 challenges have been run in the Federal government since 2010 and competitions have been around since colonization of the Americas, including the 1927 Orteig Prize, the transatlantic flight that made Charles Lindbergh famous.

With a challenge competition, a “seeker” poses a problem or question to the public and “solvers” respond and submit solutions. An agency pays only for those solutions that meet the criteria and are chosen as winners.

For Federal Agencies

If your agency is looking to conduct a challenge competition, we have a wealth of information to help you through the process. See articles, training and resources, including: Getting Started with Challenge & Prize Competitions and the cache of on-demand training webinars and videos. View this 30 minute webinar to learn how to use the challenge.gov platform to post your competition.

If you’re ready to begin, go to challenge.gov/login to log in to this site or contact us, challenge@gsa.gov.

Quick Facts: Challenges in Government

  • In his September 2009 Strategy for American Innovation, President Obama called on agencies to increase their ability to promote innovation by using tools such as prizes and challenges to solve tough problems.
  • In March 2010, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Memorandum on the use of challenges/contests and prizes to improve government and encourage innovation. This memo provides a policy and legal framework to guide agencies in using prizes to stimulate innovation to advance their core missions.
  • Between September 2010 and September 2013, 58 federal agencies ran 288 challenge competitions. The use of this tool to drive innovation and collaboration with citizens continues to expand.
  • This platform is available at no cost to all federal agencies to help them list their challenge and prize competitions and learn how to engage the public through this innovative approach.
  • Through this site, the public can find all challenges/contests taking place across the Federal Government and participate in those challenges that are of interest to them.