We’ve written on many occasions about the ways research conducted in the public sector has sparked important innovations. But this month we’re thinking about how government can act as a catalyst for private innovators to help solve public problems. This article from Governing highlights how public agencies can issue reward-based challenges to engage private innovators in solving a public problem. The author describes the process this way:
That’s where challenge platforms excel, in letting governments take a relatively hands-off approach to developing innovation: opening up the opportunity to anyone with Internet access, avoiding lengthy contracting processes and working with individuals and small businesses while transferring risk to those entrepreneurs best suited to take a challenge on. The most successful challenge campaigns engage with participants to support their efforts, opening new data sets and being receptive to suggestions and new ideas.