New Site Offers Prizes For Fresh Ideas

By Ian Graham

Do you have a million-dollar idea that could revolutionize how the government works?  Now there’s a quick easy way to get your idea in the right hands – and maybe walk away with a cash prize for your effort.

The White House has announced the launch of their new website,, a portal for everyday citizens to offer solutions to the nation’s biggest challenges. The site is an extension of President Barack Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation, which opens government solutions to the general public.

On, entrepreneurs, leading innovators and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions to tough problems and, at the same time, take pride in engaging with their government to advance national priorities.

The site works pretty simply – an agency or office can post a “challenge” to which people can provide a “solution.” It also allows participants to blog, interact on discussion boards and easily share items via different social media.

To present your idea, visit the site and create an account.  Challenges have been posted so far by NASA; the Environmental Protection Agency; Social Security Administration; and the Defense, Education, State, Interior and Labor Departments, among many others.

The Department of Defense so far has posted challenges primarily in the research arena, as they look for ways to use emerging technology to help servicemembers:

  • The Chief of Naval Research is offering up to $100,000 in cash prizes for innovative ideas related to Office of Naval Research goals.
  • The U.S. Army’s Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge wants to hear ideas about how best to use virtual reality in any Army purview – this year, they’re looking for ideas focusing on or around artificial intelligence. The winners will receive a portion of the $25,000 cash prize pool and a paid trip to present their entries at the GameTech Conference in Orlando, Fla.

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