Friday, July 17, 2009

Perspectives on Incentive Prizes and Crowdsourcing

We have recently come across two particularly interesting and relevant blog posts that we wanted to share. In this vein, please feel free to share our blog with other networks to which you belong; we are eager to gain more readers and stimulate more conversation in the ALS space. But back to business. To follow up on our recent post about incentive prizes and for more information from the McKinsey & Co. report on them, check out a recent “What Matters” post on the importance of incentive prizes to inspire innovation. Rather than innovation and prizes being peripheral to each other, as they were for many decades, they have recently developed an important relationship that has yielded exciting and rapid advances in many research fields. Prize4Life is proud of its own incentive prizes and proud to be a leader in the field of prize-motivated innovation, continuing the legacy of prize-driven organizations that that have harnessed the power of prizes to effect change. Follow the link above to learn about the history of prizes and their potential for influencing research and development across a wide spectrum of industries.

We also wanted to highlight an interesting reflection on the ongoing shifts in the nature of work. In this recent post, InnoCentive’s CEO Dwayne Spradlin shares his thoughts on the power of crowdsourcing to bring people back to doing the work for which they are best suited. Too many people, Spradlin laments, work jobs they do not enjoy and for which they are not well-suited. But this depressing (and inefficient!) trend can be reversed with the increasing reliance of companies upon public wisdom and expertise. The practice of turning to the crowd to solve a problem or concern allows people to define their own work, which will likely lead to greater productivity and accelerated innovation, which is exactly what Prize4Life is striving for. However, unless crowdsourcing offers compensation for solutions and useful suggestions, this belief in the wisdom of the masses will not replace the traditional work model, despite the fact that it may provide the general population with opportunity to actually apply their passions and expertise, which they may or may not get a chance to do at work. And that’s where the prizes come in! At Prize4Life, we are not invested in changing the traditional work model but rather in using the crowdsourcing model to accelerate cures and treatments. We believe dramatic advances in ALS research can be made when people are encouraged to make connections that wouldn’t come to them ordinarily and when they work within and even beyond their own expertise to address questions of ALS treatment that are particularly interesting to us.

We are highlighting these two posts because they evoke two of the foundational tenets of Prize4Life: incentive prizes and crowdsourcing, and we want to share with you different perspectives on these topics and help you understand why we trust this powerful combination to accelerate efforts to identify new treatments and a cure for ALS.

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