From XPrize to Kickstarter.com online challenges, competitions or prizes are becoming familiar tools for social change, innovation and marketing. Despite the growing familiarity with the basic concept, “enter an idea and win a cash award,” smartly designed prizes have a much more sophisticated strategy working behind the scenes.
For example, smartly designed prizes are dead simple to enter. Lowering this barrier-to-entry drives multiple design decisions. Simple right? Maybe.
Let’s say you’re in need of a solution to a complex, even global, problem. How simple is too simple to seem prestigious or rigorous? What is simple relative to the typical tasks of an average entrant? And most importantly, in the entry do you want an entrant to share something they’ve done in the past or plan for something they’ll do in the future? Digging into some of the design trade-offs of lowering the barrier-to-entry can tell you a lot about what kind of prize you’re looking for.
Our prize primer gives a high-level overview of the two main schools of prize design, recognition and inducement. It will get you thinking about why a prize, what you’d want your entrants to do and what you might offer beyond cash.