Using Prizes to Engage the Tech Community — A Model for Us

The Federal Trade Commission is using the lure of a $50,000 prize to incentivise new ideas to deal with robocall problem.

Best of all, the agency is making data available to help people think about the problem:

As part of the challenge, the FTC announced it will provide participants, or “solvers,” with data on de-identified consumer complaints about robocalls made between June 2008 and September 2012.  Solvers interested in this data will receive periodic updates with contemporary data through December 31, 2012. The complaint data will include: date of call; approximate time of call; reported caller name; first seven digits of reported caller phone number; and consumer area code.

Access organizations need to be doing just the same thing.  How about offering prizes for the following — and how about using the comments to suggest other areas for such encouragement?

  • Mobile apps to help protect DV victims
  • Tools to match legal issues people are facing with the online information about how to deal with them (with data from websites on search patterns)
  • Tools to find unconscious judicial bias (with case decision data)
  • Tools to analyze courtroom transcripts for anything (with transcripts)
  • Tools to help legal aid advocates identify areas most impacted by foreclosure and where to focus intervention resources (with foreclosure records and court files)
  • Triage tools (legal aid intake files, courtroom files, all purged)

Remember, this award is part of a broader government initiative at

This is the agency’s first government contest hosted on, an online challenge platform administered by the U.S. General Services Administration, in partnership with ChallengePost. empowers the U.S. government and the public to bring the best ideas and top talent to bear on our nation’s most pressing issues.

Look at it, celebrate the power of government for good and join.  There are several hundred such challenges up there.


About richardzorza

I am deeply involved in access to justice and the patient voice movement.
This entry was posted in Research and Evalation, Science. Bookmark the permalink.