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ICT Inducement Prizes Design for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ICTIP (ICT Inducement Prizes Design for Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-02-29

Information and communications technologies have enormous potential to benefit our everyday lives and tackle some of the most pressing social challenges. The 'ICT Inducement Prizes Design for Innovation and Entrepreneurship' project investigated the potential of inducement prizes to stimulate the development of ICT innovations for societal benefit.

Inducement prizes offer a reward to whoever can first or best deliver breakthrough solutions to a clearly defined challenge. They prescribe the goal but not who the innovator should be or how the goal should be achieved. They are offered ex-ante, lowering risk for funders and keeping them open to a wider set of potential participants than most grant, R&D or procurement routes.

This 14-month project began in January 2015, and generated high-level proposals for eight inducement prizes - all of which will aim to leverage the power of ICT to tackle significant challenges affecting Europe. The project consortium has been led by the Centre for Challenge Prizes at Nesta in the UK. Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna - a leading university research institute based in Pisa, Italy, led on the research strand of the work programme. The consortium also worked with Science Practice (a London-based research design studio) to carry out interviews with domain experts to test early stage prize 'prototypes'. The global public relations, communications and public affairs company, Burson-Marsteller, created communication plans to accompany each prize. These communications plans made a range of recommendations to inform and engage a broad community of innovators and potential investors across Europe in the launches of the prizes.
The consortium’s activity encompassed the following areas of activity:

Research into prize topics (led by SSSA):
Successful prize design relies on disciplined research and expert engagement that helps to clarify the prize aims, investigates the problem, need or opportunity for innovations in the field. Topics were selected in conjunction with DG Connect and literature reviews for nine prize topics were carried out to map the evidence on the 'problem' at the heart of the challenge and analyse developments in the field and current barriers to progress.

Workshops and Prize design Reports (led by Nesta):
These research outputs underpinned the prize design process, leading to the creation of early prize design 'prototypes' which were tested with domain experts by researchers from Science Practice. Nesta led a series of nine thematic workshops which drew on the expertise of specialists within the relevant field to test and refine the prize designs. Following the workshops and the prize design process, Nesta finalised eight prize design reports which contained recommendations around implementation and timescales for delivery.

Communications Plans (led by Burson-Marsteller):
In parallel with the research and design activities, communications experts from Burson-Marsteller developed ambitious communications strategies for the eight final inducement prize proposals. These reports analysed the context for the inducement prize, possible audiences, appropriate communications channels and also made recommendations in relation to the identity and messaging.
The impact of the EUICTIP project is best evidenced via three interrelated indicators. Namely, did the prize designs result in EC funded inducement prizes? Will these prizes be focused around ‘real world’ problems affecting European citizens? Has the consortium’s activity supported efforts to mainstream the use of the challenge prize methodology within the ICT expert community?

1. Influencing the European Commission's 2016 / 17 Work Programme
The allocation of resources towards proposed prize topic areas provides insight into the relevance of the work undertaken within this project. Of the final eight prize designs, early indications suggest that three of the high-level designs will influence the development of live Horizon 2020 inducement prizes.

2. High impact topics selected as the focus for prize design activity
An important consideration guiding the choice of topics was the extent to which a prize launched in that field had the potential to deliver significant positive impact for the EU. Those prizes now likely to be adopted by the European Commission will be focused around issues set to be of increasing relevance and concern to EU policymakers and citizens.

3. Mainstreaming the challenge methodology
Over the past 14 months, the pool of experts interviewed was both considerable (42 for the first round of prize designs and 70 for the second round, equaling 112 in total) and diverse, with a broad cross-section of EU countries represented in the sample). Many of these interviewees were later brought together - in combination with additional experts - during the nine prize co-design workshops, which facilitated interdisciplinary collaboration around a concrete challenge. Entrepreneurs, academics, writers, designers and representatives from European SMEs were consulted on early drafts of the prize design during these workshops. This consultation and engagement activity had implications for the project’s overall impact. Each interview and workshop involved explication of the inducement prize methodology, the aims of the project and the use of inducement prizes to advance innovation within the Horizon 2020 programme. Consequently, participants who had engaged in the project would have been well-briefed on the concept of inducement prizes and their potential impact in the context of the EU.