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Better innovation through prizes

April 14, 2009

The X-Prize is a truly brilliant idea; establish a challenge and offer a ton of cash for proof of brilliance.

Today, they announced together with Wellpoint, that health is the next challenge.

“The proposed $10M+ Healthcare X PRIZE is designed to improve health value
by more than 50 percent in a community during a three-year trial. A
competition around value measures and compares health outcomes against the
total cost of care for a community. Health outcomes would be measured by a
“community health index,” which combines functional health (e.g., reduced
sick days, improved ability to climb stairs) and clinical events (e.g.,
visit to ER, rehospitalization). Total cost would include direct costs
incurred across health benefits, payroll (sick and disability pay), coupled
with out-of-pocket health care.”

The X-Prize has established challenges in the fields of energy and transportation, it’s just a shame there aren’t more organizations like the X-Prize. America is a country of entrepreneurs and innovators and there’s never been a more urgent time for their skills to be put to use. The mechanics of a huge cash prize is a big motivation to get a legion of America’s finest minds to make something happen.

While outsourced R&D and open innovation is becoming trendy in corporate America,perhaps its time to blow this world wide open.

It’s easy to imagine a big brand offering a tiny fraction of its annual ad budget for a game changing idea; think of P&G and Unilever doing something like this and turning it into a whole marketing program.

Posted by Ed Cotton

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