From the beginning of his Administration, President Obama emphasized the importance of more inclusive and open government, directing federal agencies to “find new ways of tapping the knowledge and experience of ordinary Americans.”
The federal government has drawn on the talents and interests of thousands of Americans, teaming up with citizens to solve some of the nation’s most challenging and pressing problems. 42,000 Americans have participated in more than 300 challenge competitions featured on Challenge.gov, and been awarded $35 million in prizes. Recently, $2 million was awarded to the winners of Rebuild by Design, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s competition to create redevelopment projects for the region affected by Hurricane Sandy.
These efforts are just a sampling of how the U.S. government is using incentive prizes, crowdsourcing, and citizen science to advance national priorities, collaborating with civil societies including companies, universities, foundations, non-profits, and the public.