Overview of Challenge Prize Competitions

Challenge Prize Competitions are a proven methodology with a long history of engaging diverse individuals to solve challenges. Champions and sponsors work to define a specific impact that they are searching for, then challenge innovators to deliver it.  A Challenge Prize Competition is a dynamic and timely process. 

Prize competitions differ from traditional research and development and grant programs where funding and support is given to advance good ideas. With a prize competition, the desired end state is clearly defined at the beginning of the process and ‘solvers’ are asked to deliver it.   Entrants are objectively tested against each other in their capacity to deliver a solution. The best innovation will be awarded the prize on the condition that it meets pre-defined criteria.   

Prizes are a way to encourage new thinking, perspectives and ideas. Its useful to think of a prize competition as an ‘innovation search engine’ acting as a catalyst to mobilize new talent from outside traditional communities.  In addition, although by its nature the competition is focused on identifying a winner, the diversity of solutions that emerge are often applicable and impactful.     

To launch an effective prize competition for the remote community food challenge, we collectively need to articulate core priorities, a clear challenge question that we can put to innovators, and the parameters that should guide the prize competition.