The Network’s Chief of Research Stefaan Verhulst and Network Coordinator Andrew Young, both of the Governance Lab @ NYU, published a set of observations, research questions and strategies regarding the use of prize-induced contests and grand challenges to help address public problems by shifting the locus of innovation from institutions to the public.
One of the central questions Verhulst and Young pose relates to the need for developing meaningful metrics for assessing the effectiveness of prizes and challenges in different contexts:
“What metrics can help measure the impact of prize and challenges? What design variables enable successful implementation?
By definition, prizes and challenges are focused on achieving audacious goals. We need a way to capture their impact and to understand if they have achieved their goals. We also need to understand what aspects of design affect outcomes. For example, could prizes and challenges be more effective if they gave participants more guidance on achieving step-by-step milestones? Is it practical for agencies to develop a timeline of sorts to help guide the progress of participants and stakeholders?”