Why Challenge Prizes

Challenge or incentive prizes are prizes that invite solutions from everyone everywhere. Prizes get people excited and engaged.

  • In the 1700s Britain’s Parliament created the Longitude Prize for a way for sailors to determine longitude at sea so they could navigate better.
  • Napoleon created a prize to feed his army resulting in the basic methods of food preservation still in use today (boiling and sealing food in airtight containers).

What’s changed is that the web and connectivity make challenge prizes much more powerful and fast.

Prizes enable you to tap talent around the world, They make the crowd available to you on-demand as your innovation partner, and you pay only for success, not effort.

Netflix, Merck, Harvard, NASA, Pepsi, Pfizer, Unilever, and others have all used them.


“In the last five years, incentive prizes have transformed from an exotic open innovation tool to a proven innovation strategy for the public, private, and philanthropic sectors.”
     Deloitte Insights, “The Craft of Incentive Prize Design”, copyright (c) Deloitte, all rights reserved.

“Crowd-sourcing projects are completed successfully at a rate approaching 90% –a number most organizations would move heaven and earth to achieve internally. The key is finding the right set of people, making the work meaningful for them, and successfully crafting the incentives so that they will continue to do the work as more projects are submitted.”
    Harvard Business School, “The Biggest Challenge to the Future of Crowd-sourcing in Business”, copyright (c) Harvard Business School, all rights reserved.

“Prizes used to spark innovation are on the rise. Philanthropists–as well as players in the public and private sectors–must understand how to use them in the most effective way.”
    McKinsey & Company, “Using Prizes To Spur Innovation, copyright (c) 2019 McKinsey & Company, all rights reserved.

“Challenge prizes expose a problem to widely diverse individuals with varied skills, experience, and perspectives. And it can operate at a scale that exceeds even that of the biggest and most complex global corporation, bringing in many more individuals to focus on a given challenge.”
    Harvard Business Review, “Using the Crowd as an Innovation Partner”, copyright (c) Harvard Business School, all rights reserved.

Contact Us to add prizes to your innovation toolkit.