Inducement prizes are powerful tools for progress. They “aim innovation” where needed, motivating the world’s best minds to tackle pressing problems.

Prize Capital is pleased to be working in partnership with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association XPRIZE to scope and launch the Carbon XPRIZE.

The Power of Prizes

Throughout history, prizes have been used to bring forth breakthroughs. The ideal competition includes: a compelling target; a large prize; simple, stringent rules; and competitions to capture public imagination.

Recognition prizes (such as the Nobel Prizes) look backward, rewarding past achievements. Inducement prizes look forward, directing effort at a desired outcome. They cross borders, bypass bureaucracy and accelerate innovation. They offer many advantages, including:

  1. More attention: The media spotlight around a MegaPrize can bring an important problem to the attention of millions.

  1. More minds: A MegaPrize induces competitors from around the world to join the search for a solution.

  1. More effort: The competitive spirit brings out the best, in science as in sports. Watson and Crick deciphered DNA while rushing to beat rivals. Charles Lindbergh risked his life crossing the Atlantic to win a prize.

  1. More approaches: Inducement prizes attract a wider range of participants, from traditional researchers to maverick thinkers, from large public companies to serial entrepreneurs. (Compare this to the typical government grant, which finances only one competitor in one location using one approach.)

  1. More return on investment: Inducement prizes create tremendous leverage. For instance, competitors spent more than $100 million in their efforts to launch a private spacecraft and win the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE.  The prize, which is awarded by sponsors, is not payed until the desired result is achieved.

XPRIZE - Stanford Business School Case Study,

December 14, 2006

Inducement Prizes and Innovation,
Centre for Economic Policy Research,
July 2008

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