Government-Run Competitions Should Be About Markets, Not Prizes


That means knowing where you want the market to go but giving competitors flexibility to get there faster.

Running a prize competition in government or industry is about “understanding where the market’s going in 10 years and trying to make it go there in three years,” Christopher Frangione, vice president for prize development at the X Prize Foundation, told members of Congress on Wednesday.

That means government agencies running prize competitions authorized through the America Competes Act should know the market they want to stimulate inside and out but leave flexibility for competitors to reach a goal in innovative ways, Frangione and other panelists told members of the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology.

That flexibility may include not forcing entrants to turn over their intellectual property to the government as a condition of winning. That way they’ll be competing for position in a multi-million or multi-billion dollar market rather than competing for a single prize of a few million dollars, panelists said.

It could also mean designing competitions so that entrants are completely freed of standard government contracting procedures, panelists said.

The hearing webcast is available here.

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