Here is some awesome news released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy this morning. If you think the word “awesome” is overused, please bear with me. I think it might actually be awesome.
The OSTP released their annual report regarding “the use of prizes and competitions by Federal agencies to spur innovation, engage citizen solvers, address tough problems, and advance their core missions.”
In short, this is the pudding. That the proverbial proof is in.
87 prize competitions implemented by 25 Federal agencies in FY 2013. An 85% increase over 2012. Bam!
The Office of Health and Human Services offered a total of over $1.2 million prize purses, with an average purse size of $46,000, a 150% increase over the prior year.
Still ongoing is the $10-million SunShot Grand Challenge, which aims to make solar energy competitive with fossil fuels by the end of the decade. That’s pretty awesome.
The FTC launched the Robocall Challenge as a means to stem the majority of robocalls, which are illegal. Of the 798 entries, 721 of them were individual citizens. Heroes all. The OSTP report notes that none of the 3 winning teams had ever before attempted to design a product for this purpose.
One of the winning products is called Nomorobo. Because of course. Of course Nomorobo.
Nearly half of the prizes conducted in FY 2013 sought software solutions. (Hey maybe you know someone who works in software and they might find this report useful – send them a link to this page or either of the links on this page. Several of the competitions are still underway.)
The full 135-page report is quite comprehensive, with coverage of all 87 gov-initiated challenges that were active in FY 2013. By no means does this report provide the entirety of how much crowd-sourced challenges are affecting the world. But it’s a good microcosm of how government is making them work.
But what can you really do?
I tweeted this the other day:
The key to delegating is finding someone else to delegate for you.
Although its intention was to entertain, it’s actually a pretty sage thought on leadership. If you’re not enacting change or enabling others to enact change, then you’re identifying what to change. That is a leadership role. And we all do that all the time already.
Every human being on this planet is already a leader because they are able to identify what needs to be changed around them. Whether they take on the change or not is a completely different matter. That’s the difference between leaders and heroes.
Take it on.
Make a challenge.
Be a hero.