Inducement Prizes, Contests, and Challenge Awards

Why?  Because prizes are effective.  Under the right circumstances, they can be more effective than traditional investments in research and development.

Lowery says: “After falling out of favor for decades, such high-publicity, fat-reward contest came into vogue again in the aughts in the wake of the 1996 Ansari X Prize for advances in commercial spaceflight” which Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne won in 2004.

Weekly Roundup: August 22 - 26, 2016

Safe Place for Ideas? FedScoop reports: “Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott would like to see a better system in place by which the government could solicit ideas for improvement without those ideas being stolen by competitors looking for an edge in landing a lucrative federal contract.  . . .

How May I Help You?

Instead of the bike, I got a note from the postman saying it was too big for the delivery truck and I had to pick it up at the local post office.  But which one?  There were three in the local Zip Code.  Calls to each referred me to a national 1-800 number which said there was a 20-minute wait.  After 40 minutes, a very polite and very helpful person came on the line and gave me the right post office (which wasn’t one of the three).

Was I satisfied with my customer service?  Yes.  Was I satisfied with my customer experience?  No.

Big Data, Big Cities, Big Deal

Professor Alfred Ho, at the University of Kansas, recently surveyed 65 mid-size and large cities to learn what is going on, on the frontline, with the use of Big Data in making decisions.  He found that Big Data has made it possible to “change the time span of a decision-making cycle by allowing real-time analysis of data to instantly inform decision-making.”  This decision-making occurs in areas as diverse as program management, strategic planning, budgeting, performance repo

Weekly Roundup: December 18-22, 2017

DOD Acquisition Reform Panel. In an Op-Ed in Federal Times, Dee Lee and Hannah Oh write: “Repealing or amending outdated provisions that bog down the acquisition process is long overdue.

Weekly Roundup: October 3 - 7, 2016

Darcie Piechowski

How Can Government Buying Match the Best in Business?

Background. Category Management is used by businesses and governments around the world to better manage their common purchases.  The approach involves defining a clear strategy for spending on common items or services within a category, which in turn leverages buying power across the entire category to generate a price discount, additional services that reduce total cost of ownership, and other sources of value.  As such, category management encourages individual agencies to buy from common contracting vehicles and enable purchasing decisions to be managed centrally by spec

Weekly Roundup: October 10 - 14, 2016

John Kamensky

GAO on Open Innovation. GAO has released a new report that says: “We identified 7 practices that agencies can use to effectively engage the public when using open innovation tools.”

Weekly Roundup: October 17 - 21, 2016

Artificial Intelligence to Benefit Government and Society.  Federal News Radioreports that the federal government spends about $1 billion a year on R&D for artificial intelligence.  The White House has put out a strategic plan to develop guidance in seven areas, such as shared data and workforce needs.

Getting to "Yes" or "No" - Faster

The Obama Administration first faced this dilemma when implementing the 2009 Recovery Act and launched an effort in 2011 to untangle the nest of 35 sets of permitting and review responsibilities across 18 different agencies.  It concluded, drolly, that the interplay among these different statutory requirements “is challenging and can sometimes result in uncertainty.”



Senior Fellow
IBM Center for The Business of Government
600 14th Street, NW Second Floor
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Mr. Kamensky is a Senior Fellow with the IBM Center for The Business of Government and an Associate Partner with IBM's Global Business Services.

During 24 years of public service, he had a significant role in helping pioneer the federal government's performance and results orientation. Mr. Kamensky is passionate about helping transform government to be more results-oriented, performance-based, customer-driven, and collaborative in nature.

Prior to joining the IBM Center, he served for eight years as deputy director of Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. Before that, he worked at the Government Accountability Office where he played a key role in the development and passage of the Government Performance and Results Act.

Since joining the IBM Center, he has co-edited six books and writes and speaks extensively on performance management and government reform.  Current areas of emphasis include transparency, collaboration, and citizen engagement.  He also blogs about management challenges in government.

Mr. Kamensky is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and received a Masters in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at:

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