Ben Skowera is the winner of The Economist-InnoCentive Transparency Challenge.
I am an Associate at SEI Investments in Oaks, Pennsylvania, where I’m currently working on the online software development team performing quality assurance and business analysis for our products. My past projects at SEI have also included web product strategy, international new service development, project management, and operational process improvement. I graduated from Lehigh University in 2009 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Economics.
I first learned of InnoCentive through a news article about technology and innovation and I decided to sign up. Shortly after, I came across The Economist-InnoCentive Transparency Challenge in one of the site’s weekly Challenge Bulletins. The Challenge tasked Solvers with developing an innovative way to utilize technology to drive transparency in the government. With the upcoming presidential elections and the political turmoil occurring throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa, I thought this topic was both extremely relevant and important.
I believe having a basic knowledge of the government, political processes, and current political events is a very important part of anyone’s involvement in government and politics. After performing research into how people obtain information about their governments, I came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a sufficient way to truly understand the impact that political decisions have on us and our values and how well our elected officials are representing us over time. This is why I proposed my solution of creating a website that delivers personal and easy-to-understand, value-based political analysis by utilizing technologies and techniques used in online dating, social networking, and metric-based dashboard design.
As part of the award, I traveled to the Ideas Economy: Innovation 2012 event in Berkeley, California, where I was interviewed on stage by Matthew Bishop, US Business Editor and New York Bureau Chief of The Economist. The experience was incredible and so was the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the amazing people that attended the event. [editor note: to see Ben’s interview at the event, click on the link above]
By connecting organizations with problems to Solvers that reside outside of specific localities or the four walls of typical organization, I believe InnoCentive is creating a great opportunity for both people and organizations to take advantage of the tremendous knowledge the world has to offer. As more and more people connect due to the expansion of technology and the internet, I believe InnoCentive has developed a great way to bring together everyone’s ideas and create a global community to solve the world’s biggest problems.
I wish the best of luck to all future InnoCentive Solvers.