Rewarding Innovation In Government

Yesterday I read an article (http://fcw.com/articles/2010/03/09/white-house-prize-policy.aspx) by Doug Beizer that profiled the White House’s new policy on carrying out contests to spur innovation.

I think it’s grand that the White House recognizes the power of using gaming and rewards mechanisms within an innovation setting; however, it challenges agencies to develop this with little direction as to where to go to get it done. As a result, I’d thought I’d give a bit of background of how we did this in Manor for any individuals that may be looking into doing this for their agency.

On October 27, in conjunction with the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, the City of Manor launched Manor Labs (http://www.manorlabs.org). The Manor Labs platform is a Software as a Service (SaaS) powered by Spigit, designed to crowdsource our governmental research & development. One of the most successful components of the platform has been the “gaming” or “incentive” component. In order to build sustainable engagement on the platform, individuals are ranked and rewarded based on their input into the process. Participants receive “Innobucks” for various actions (commenting, voting, etc.), which can be reinvested in other ideas or traded in for tangible products and the Manor Labs Store. This points-based innovation doesn’t just reward the people who have ideas that are implemented; it rewards everyone who participates in the process.

How do I know the system works?

With a population of 6,500 people, only 35 full-time employees (including police) and very little budget; we have implemented 5 solutions since the platform’s launch a few months ago.

If anyone has any other questions about our platform, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected].

A full Manor Labs Use Study is also available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/26347506/Manor-Labs-Use-Study

Also the full White House memorandum is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/memoranda_2010/m10-11.pdf

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Do you have any ideas on what incentives are most important?
-Recognition – Chance to be famous, leaderboards
-Implementation – showing ideas actually being implemented
-Call to service – make incentive towards helping others/govt
-Free stuff…

Others? I think there are lots of different incentives and always interesting to see which ones to pull?

I talked to the WashPost folks who run WhoRunsGov and they were saying that some incentives are counter-productive for them (like recognition) while others were more exciting.