The Open Contracting Innovation Challenge

The Open Contracting Innovation Challenge

How would you use data to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of public procurement?
Applications closed on the 2nd June

A $60,000 Challenge Prize from the Open Contracting Partnership and the Open Data Institute

What's in it for you?
The Challenge:

Every year, governments spend over $9.5 trillion through contracts with companies to provide everything from pencils and paper to building infrastructure such as bridges, schools and hospitals. Every third dollar that your government spends is on public contracts. Contracting is plagued by opacity and inefficiency and is government’s number one corruption risk. Better, smarter and fairer government contracting will have a huge impact on people’s lives.

We need your big ideas to find better ways to manage, analyse, and monitor how government buys goods & services. The Open Contracting Partnership, in collaboration with the Open Data Institute and funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, invite you to participate in the Open Contracting Innovation Challenge.


How would you use data to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of public procurement?

We are looking for entrepreneurs, government innovators, data journalists, civic technologists, hackers, open data enthusiasts, citizen activists who understand the transformational impact on people’s lives that better public contracting can have in terms of scale and impact. We are particularly interested in ideas for projects that:

  • Detect and prevent fraud & corruption
  • Create fairer competition
  • Deliver better value for money for governments
  • Drive effective goods & service delivery for citizens
Any idea is valid:
  • A tool that helps businesses compete on government contracts?
  • An investigative project that reveals inefficient use of government funds?
  • A Twitter bot that queries an open tender database?
  • A new way of connecting contracts to other relevant data?
Then think about how that project can achieve scale and reach in a trillion dollar marketplace.

if you have a data-driven idea to improve the way governments buy goods and services in mind, gather your team and get going.

Entries open
18 April 2017
Submission deadline
2 June 2017
Six finalists announced
14 June 2017
• $5,000 per team
• Government innovation winner announced
Finalist meetup in London
28 June (tbc)
Incubation & mentoring
25 June -25 Sept 2017
Grand prize award
30 Sep 2017
• One team wins $30,000
What's in it for you?
Through the Open Contracting Innovation Challenge, we will award $60,000 in prize money and the Government Innovation prize*.
• June 2017:
- Government Innovation prize
- Six ‘Finalist Prizes’ - $5,000
If your application is shortlisted by our judges as one of six finalists, you will receive a cash prize of $5,000 to take your idea forward
• September 2017:
- One ‘Grand Prize’ - $30,000
After working on your project for three months with our experts, you will pitch for the Grand Prize which could see you awarded $30,000 .
Mentoring during incubation
We are excited to get to know your ideas and see them become reality. As a finalist, you will receive mentoring over three months. Our experts in data and public contracting will help to ensure your tool, project or idea delivers significant quantifiable progress from June to September. The focus during those three months is on action and execution.
We like to think that open contracting is an exciting space. The grand prize winner will be showcased at the Open Contracting 2017, our global meeting in November, and we’ll do what we can to ensure that it makes waves in the open data and open contracting communities.
Milestone 1: Call for applications
The Challenge will be open for entries from the 13th April 2017. The entry period will be open for just over six weeks, closing on the 31st May, 23.59 EST. To enter, participants must complete the following application form

Anyone interested in submitting a solution can read the Challenge Handbook for more information about the process. We also recommend referencing the Eligibility Criteria and Judging Criteria.
Application form
Milestone 2: Finalists Announced
After the deadline, all entries will be assessed by our judging panel against the criteria, and seven finalists will be announced on the 14th June 2017. These finalists will include:

• Six ‘Citizen Prizes’, for applications from businesses, individuals, academia, journalists, civil society and more. Citizen prize winners receive $5,000, as well as mentorship and expert advice, to develop their idea.

• One ‘Government Prize’ for  the best application from a government department or agency. The government prize does not include a monetary award, but will receive mentorship and expert advice to develop their idea.
Milestone 3: Concept Refinement
After the seven finalists are announced, they will have three months to implement their idea, test solutions, and/or refine their prototypes and write their Impact & Sustainability plans. During this period mentoring support will be provided by experts in open contr. Deadline for the Development Plan submission will be the 14th September 2017.
Milestone 4: Grand Winner Announced
In  September 2017, based on the Impact & Development Plans and the progress from the past three months, the judging panel will evaluate the seven finalists and select:

• One ‘Grand Prize’ winner of $30,000, who use the reward to help advance their project. The grand winner will be announced on the 30th September 2017
Both the Grand Prize winner and the finalist ideas and concepts will be showcased at the Open Contracting Global Meeting in Amsterdam, in front of a large audience of the public procurement and contracting network  (November 2017 - date to be confirmed).
A call to action goes here

Our Government Innovation prize

We know there are champions and innovators in governments around the world – thousands of public servants quietly working away to improve the basic functions of government, trying to modernize and update citizen services. Whilst governments are not eligible for the cash prize, winners will receive mentoring and expert support to accelerate the progress and execution of their innovation. We will also bring you to the center stage and celebrate your government innovation at Open Contracting 2017, our global meeting in November.

Our Judges
To ensure everyone is competing on a level playing field, our judging criteria are available to everyone right from the start. Here’s how our expert judges will evaluate your submission:
Potential for impact
Can you provide us with an explanation and evidence of how your idea will have a positive impact on society?
Is your idea a substantive, new, or innovative contribution in the field?
Use of data
How central is the use of data to your proposition?
Can you demonstrate that your idea can sustain itself beyond the period of initial financial support, and/or can be reproduced in other contexts?
The Team
Does your team have the passion, skills and network to make your idea a reality?
For more detail on each of these, please check out the full judging criteria.

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