Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Government Challenges YOU!

Last week we talked about how NASA's Centennial Challenges and the X Prize Foundation have been using incentive prizes to spur radical technology breakthroughs.  But while NASA was one of the first U.S. government agencies to see the value in incentive prizes, the spirit has caught on and now many agencies are trying the same thing.  So now we have, the government's central web site for innovation prizes.

It's important to note that not all of these challenges or scientific or technological.  Viewed postitively this broadened field provides more variety and let's citizen scientists use their gifts not just for discovery, but artistry and humaintatianism.  Here are a few current examples of the types of project available, with many more coming on line in the near future.

  • Public Service Announcements:  Film a video or create an advertisement promoting a national asset (like a US park), educating the public on an important topic, or encouraging positive behaviors.
  • Photography: Display the beauty of our country in photographs, or use photographs for scientific or historical purposes.
  • Automation and Programming: Design software or develop a system to perform tasks much more effectively than currently done.  For example, counting the craters on a planet or identifying people in video footage.
  • App Development: Design computer applications that help the public better interact with the government.  For example, tracking tax refunds online.
  • Children's Educational Projects: Create educational tools or projects that help kids learn, such as sample science fair projects.
  • Product Design: Design commemorative coins, medals, or badges in a variety of fields. 
  • Slogans: Create slogans or songs promoting various government programs.

These are just a few of the many challenge types available to you.  So click on over and search for an area you're interested in.  Let your mind roam and your creative juices flow to win some federal challenge money.  After all, they were your tax dollars!