Saturday, February 10, 2007

InnoCentive matching challenges with scientists

When I wrote the school paper that started this site, I had some speculative thoughts about prizes being used in the normal course of business. In particular, I imagined companies or non-profits that specialized in various aspects of running prize competitions (legal, management, public relations, events, technology evaluation, etc). Some of these might be branches of existing companies (hotels, resorts, law firms, etc) while others might specialize in all parts of prizes or manage the overall process with the help of subcontractors. At the same time, businesses would evaluate areas where they could benefit by a certain technology or similar advance, but were not willing or able to invest in the goal themselves. They could issue a prize competition (by themselves, or in combination with others with similar interests, and with or without the services of prize management specialists) and wait and see if any results occur. A giant company might just offer "$10,000 million for the technology that, in 10 years time, has with hindsight been judged to have benefited our company the most" or something similar to get a lot of people thinking about how to help them.

Well, it isn't the whole industry I imagined, but InnoCentive looks like one of the pieces of that puzzle ...