Challenge.gov is an online challenge platform administered by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in partnership with ChallengePost that empowers the U.S. Government and the public to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation’s most pressing challenges. This platform is the latest milestone in the Administration’s commitment to use prizes and challenges to promote innovation.
What is a Challenge?
A challenge is exactly what the name suggests: it is a challenge by one party (a “seeker”) to a third party or parties (a “solver”) to identify a solution to a particular problem or reward contestants for accomplishing a particular goal. Prizes (monetary or non–monetary) often accompany challenges and contests.
Challenges can range from fairly simple (idea suggestions, creation of logos, videos, digital games and mobile applications) to proofs of concept, designs, or finished products that solve the grand challenges of the 21st century.
How does Challenge.gov work?
On Challenge.gov, the government and the public work together to find submissions. Government agencies post challenges on this site and the public can post submissions to these challenges.
Once a challenge is created, other people can join the challenge to propose a submission, discuss the challenge, and show support. Incentives, which are payable only if a challenge is solved, encourage others to solve a problem and earn their rewards. Learn more about how this site works!
Challenges in Government: Quick Facts
In his September 2009 Strategy for American Innovation, President Obama called on agencies to increase their ability to promote innovation by using tools such as prizes and challenges to solve tough problems.
On March 2010, the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Memorandum on the use of challenges/contests and prizes to improve government and encourage innovation.
The OMB Memo provides a policy and legal framework to guide agencies in using prizes to stimulate innovation to advance their core missions.
The OMB memo also promised that the Administration would: “…make available a web-based platform for prizes and challenges within 120 days. This platform will provide a forum for agencies to post problems and invite communities of problem solvers to suggest, collaborate on, and deliver submissions.”
OMB tasked GSA with selecting an online challenge platform. GSA issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a no cost government challenge platform. Eight organizations responded. GSA evaluated the offers and selected ChallengePost. ChallengePost has run over 100 total challenges including New York City’s Big Apps and Apps for Healthy Kids with USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama.
This platform is available at no cost to all federal agencies to help them engage the public through challenges and competitions. On this site, government agencies are able to launch their own challenges/contests.
Through this platform, the public can find all challenges/contests taking place across the Federal Government and participate in those challenges that are of interest to them by discussing the challenge, proposing submissions, and showing support for challenges.