Thursday, June 10, 2010

The X PRIZE Design Process...EXPOSED

In our last blog, we introduced you to the Prize Development department, X PRIZE and X CHALLENGE competitions and the four Prize Groups that the X PRIZE Foundation organizes incentive competition within. This time, however, we are going to go a little deeper; this time, we are going to unveil one of the secrets that have helped the X PRIZE Foundation become a world-wide leader in organizing, implementing and operating radically transformative incentive competitions.

What, you may ask, can such a secret be?? Does the X PRIZE Foundation have some sort of classified, “hush-hush” formula that they are using to usurp the competition??

Well, in a word, yes- it is called the X PRIZE Design Process.

THE X PRIZE Design Process is a creative and analytical methodology that gathers input from many sources and experts, both internal and external to the X PRIZE Foundation. These experts include innovators, industry leaders, academia and the X PRIZE Labs. This diversified approach to idea generation and feedback is instrumental to the early adoption of our concepts, grass-roots support and the development of conversational capital assets that are needed for the successful design and launch of an X PRIZE.

There are five major phases to the Prize Design Process:

1) Definition Phase- During this phase, we discuss and analyze the Grand Challenge that the potential X PRIZE competition will solve. A Grand Challenge is a problem that significantly impacts the welfare or future progress of humanity. Every X PRIZE and X CHALLENGE competition is designed to solve these Grand Challenges by giving birth to a new capability or industry, or rejuvenate or reform an existing industry in a way that has long-lasting benefit and impact to humanity.

2) Initiation Phase- In this stage, the Prize Development team works to create a list of prize concepts that could address the stated Grand Challenge.

3) Ideation Phase- Here we identify and study the underlying market failures that the prize seeks to address, focusing on the technological, market, behavioral and policy sectors that could be impacted by the prize. We also evaluate and rank each prize construct against a set of specially developed X PRIZE criteria.

4) Design Phase- During this phase, we draft competition guidelines and establish the success criteria, including detailed team and sponsor business opportunities.

5) Planning Phase- The last (but definitely not least!) phase of the Prize Design process is where we get down to business, developing an Operations plan, Sponsorship plan, Marketing and Communication plan and Legal and Finance plan to ensure the effective and successful launch and operation of the newly designed X PRIZE or X CHALLENGE competition!

If you are thinking that the X PRIZE Design Process sounds like an intense and dedicated effort that involves the commitment and expertise of some of the best minds across the nation, you are right! Completing phases one through five can take up to 8 months and each time the Prize Development team implements the Prize Design Process we focus one hundred percent of our efforts on creating an exciting, memorable and monumental competition unlike anything else that has ever been done before. If we were to strive for anything less, we would not be designing X PRIZES! The Prize Design Process is our secret weapon, never failing to help guide us towards achieving our goal of implementing revolution through competition.

By: Taryn Williams, Executive Coordinator, Prize Development