Annual Meeting 2011 - The Big Win-Win: Putting Prizes to Work

The Big Win-Win: Putting Prizes to Work for Your Organization
Erika Wagner, PhD, Senior Director, Exploration Prize Development, X PRIZE Foundation

From the early European Longitude Prizes to modern competitions such as the Google Lunar X PRIZE, inducement prizes have a long history of inciting competitive races towards a variety of goals. Pairing a clear, measurable end goal with a substantial prize purse and effective publicity campaign, well-designed prizes leverage the principles of competition to bring a field of solvers to bear on a given challenge.

Prizes offer an important tool to foster innovation and raise awareness. By setting forth a credible but challenging goal with minimal hurdles to entry, prizes rally diverse approaches around a focused agenda, supporting an entire field of innovators rather than a single solution. Perhaps most importantly, they capitalize on a deep-seated competitive drive, capturing public interest for the issue at hand through the creation of visible heroes and compelling stories.