Friday, September 17, 2010

US launches

The US government recently launched, a site allowing US agencies to manage and promote challenges, prizes and competitions where the community is asked to help solve a wide range of public governance issues - all in one central location.

The challenge concept is a simple one. By tapping into the wisdom of crowds governments and other organisations are able to provide better and more cost-effective solutions to problems, large or small.

It's hard to see the downside of this approach. Government pays a small amount to incentivise participation in the challenge (a prize). If none of the challenge entries provide a better solution, or are not approaches that a government cannot adopt, the time and money cost is negligible. If a better solution - or multiple better solutions - are entered, then government has made a significant gain at little cost.

The US has taken this a step further by embedding the challenge 'DNA' into a low cost technique available to public servants with the support of the political arm of US government.

Already there are over 40 challenges on the site, with many, many more to come.


  1. Great idea. How could we start, and what would need to be done, to get this type of crowd-sourcing initiative in Australia?

  2. Hi Robert,

    Firstly there's no need for a central hub to start crowdsourcing.

    In fact Australian governments have been undertaking this type of activity for at least 98 years (the 1912 Capital Competition to design Canberra -

    The mechanisms to start are fairly straight forward and available for little or no cost.

    All it takes is some thought on what could benefit from crowdsourcing and some strategy around the best approach to deliver a workable outcome.

    Then it simply requires the appropriate approvals and endorsements.