In collaboration with NASA, we launched the NASA Innovation Pavilion in late 2009. Seven Challenges were launched over the course of several months, in total attracting nearly 3,000 Solvers, 360 solution submissions, and all of the Challenges were awarded either fully or partially. Since this time, NASA has been and continues to leverage our InnoCentive@Work platform for promoting collaboration and problem solving internally within the agency. Today, we’re very pleased to announce that NASA’s Pavilion is once again back in action with two new Challenges for our Solvers to tackle. We recently spoke with Jenn Gustetic, Prizes and Challenges Program Executive for NASA, about the re-invigoration of the Pavilion and the new Challenges now posted online.
Hello Ms. Gustetic – thanks for joining us today. We’re thrilled that the Pavilion is back online with two (and we hope many, many more) Challenges now posted. What were your primary motivations for jumping “back in the saddle?”
Thanks for having me! We’re also thrilled that the Pavilion currently has two active Challenges on it, and we’re excited to see the innovative ideas that the public will provide.
I’m proud to say that NASA has been a leader in the Federal government’s use of prize competitions for quite some time. We’re an agency founded on solving tough problems and we believe in the power of open innovation to help address those problems in partnership with innovators from around the country and the world. The White House recently recognized this leadership in their 2012 Report to Congress on prize competitions: “From the Centennial Challenges Program, to the NASA Open Innovation Pavilion, to the NASA Tournament Lab, NASA leads the public sector in the breadth and depth of experience and experimentation with prizes and challenges.” So continuing our use of the Pavilion is consistent both with our problem solving philosophy and our leadership role in government.
NASA is on the cutting edge of adopting new processes, methods, and technologies to drive innovation. How does the use of open innovation Challenges to generate new ideas and solve important problems fit within the broader context of NASA’s overall innovation agenda?
At NASA, prizes complement our other traditional problem solving approaches to create a robust toolset of innovation and engagement approaches for use by a variety of programs. Open innovation, specifically through incentive prizes, offers many unique benefits that enhance our problem solving toolkit. Prize competitions allow NASA and other agencies to:
- Establish an ambitious goal without having to predict which team or approach is most likely to succeed
- Benefit from novel approaches without bearing high levels of risk
- Reach beyond the “usual suspects” to increase the number of minds tackling a problem
- Bring out-of-discipline perspectives to bear
- Increase cost-effectiveness to maximize the return on taxpayer dollars
- Enable us to pay only for success
The first new Challenge, Strain Measurement of Vectran and Kevlar Webbing, has been online for a few weeks now and closes on January 2, 2013. More than 300 Solvers have already signed up to participate. What are some of the key attributes you’d like to see in a winning solution? Read more