Blog

What’s your best idea? Join our Open Contracting Innovation Challenge

18 Apr 2017

By Gavin Hayman

Many people believe that public contracting is boring, risk-averse and compliance driven. We know that is not true. Over the past few years, we have met many incredible innovators who have realized the power of open contracting and are transforming the way governments buy goods and services for their citizens.

Transformations start with ideas: today we invite you to participate in our first ever global Open Contracting Innovation Challenge to inspire and uncover the next great ideas in open contracting.

We are collaborating with the Open Data Institute to launch a $60,000 Challenge Prize, funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Six finalists will receive mentoring to develop their ideas further. And the grand prize winner will be showcased at Open Contracting 2017 in Amsterdam in November. We will award a special prize for the best government innovation.

Every year, governments spend over $9.5 trillion through contracts on 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.

But contracting is government’s number one corruption risk, plagued by opacity and inefficiency. Citizens, business, and even governments, everywhere encounter obstacles to analyze and track contracts – what gets bought, when, from whom, and for how much. Data and documents are spread across multiple, often outdated platforms. All too often procurement information remains in paper form collecting dust in government basements or as scanned PDFs clogging the data flow required for useful analysis.

We need your big ideas to find better ways to manage, analyze, and monitor how government purchases goods, services, and works. So….

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

We are looking for entrepreneurs, government innovators, hard-hitting data journalists, creative civic technologists, hackers, open data enthusiasts, and citizen activists who care and understand the transformational impact that better, smarter and fairer government contracting can have on people’s lives. We are particularly interested in ideas for projects that:

  • Detect and prevent fraud and corruption
  • Deliver better value for money for governments
  • Create fairer competition
  • Drive effective delivery of goods and services for citizens

We’ve seen great solutions around the globe, from civic technologists in Paraguay to tech companies in Ukraine, civil society activists in Nigeria and entrepreneurs in the UK.

We want to hear your best ideas too! It won’t have been done before. It will have data at its core. It will be sustainable beyond the challenge. And it will have a great team behind it.

Our challenge to you: How would you use data to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of public procurement? Head over to our challenge website at http://challenge.open-contracting.org and apply by May 24. It could be you lifting the trophy in November.

Do you know others who would love this challenge? Spread the word and share widely!