where the competition topics are divided into many categories, like Rowing, Equestrian, Boxing, Swimming, Gymnastics and Track & Field.
The topics at The Transformation Games are divided into 3 main categories, based on the three main topics of the Sustainable Development Goals: Society, The Economy and The Biosphere.
Not every one of the 17 Goals or the 169 challenges around which the Goals are based can be tackled effectively through the medium of competition.
Naturally, some topics require different periods of time, different levels of resources and approaches. Solutions to some challenges may even straddle a number of years and therefore more than one Games.
That is one of several reasons for including other components than competitions within the Games.
The TTG team will work with prize experts to craft the mix of prize types, that are most appropriate to each competition topic. Other challenges great and small will be open all year round, on the platform of the online community.
At the first Games in 2023, the competition mix might be made up of:
Point Solution prizes – Solving a defined challenge (as X Prizes do).
Exemplar or Replica Prizes – which highlight and celebrate great but little-known existing examples of communities, actions, solutions, technology, services or even products, which can be given massive exposure and then replicated elsewhere, or scaled up globally.
Moonshot Idea prizes – creative, conceptual ideas or inventions which merit funding, partnering and research, to be taken to the next level of development and testing.
The Competition Categories below contain some of the topic areas, around which the Competitions themselves – as well as debates and panels and other games – may be composed.
There’s nothing like an incentive to motivate people.
And as McKinsey and Deloittes have noted in their high quality research reports, if you really want to drive them, make it a cash incentive. Prizes encourage innovation and stimulate breakthroughs.
On the battlefields of Europe, a few centuries ago, Napoleon had a problem. How could he feed his troops when the countries he was invading were not able or inclined to provide food?
The French military leader believed in the power of prizes to incentivise innovation and spur scientific development.
In 1795 he offered a reward of 12,000 francs to improve upon the food preservation methods of the time. Fifteen years later, he finally awarded the cash prize to a confectioner named Nicolas François Appert. Appert’s method of heating, boiling and sealing food in airtight glass jars is pretty much the same process we still use to preserve food today.
A recent renaissance has occurred but never forget Incentive Prizes have a long history that includes many examples of award-driven change.
For centuries, they were a core instrument of sovereigns, royal societies and private benefactors, who sought to solve pressing societal problems and idiosyncratic technical challenges.
In 1714, the British Parliament established the Longitude Prize, which inspired a clockmaker John Harrison to develop the marine chronometer, an instrument that solved the problem of measuring longitude at sea. It has saved countless lives, ships and cargoes.
Similar awards have been sponsored privately, for instance the Orteig Prize for the first non-stop
flight between New York and Paris (claimed by Charles Lindbergh). The most prestigious awards, such as the Nobel Prizes, have demonstrated their continuing hold on the public’s imagination. But in the modern era, as patents and grants have continued to mature, prizes became rather peripheral instruments for encouraging innovation.
Today, however, prizes are booming once again. Both their value and their absolute numbers have risen sharply.
And while many solutions no doubt could have – or even would have – been achieved without such bounties to spur them on, it is unlikely they would have happened quite so quickly.
In light of such successes, McKinsey advised that this kind of funding model should become part of the norm.
Not only is it a highly effective means of getting results, but it’s good value for money, too.
Typically, teams cumulatively spend 10-to-40 times the amount of the prize purse trying to win the competition, often coming from non-traditional sources of expertise and of capital, whose doors would otherwise have remained closed.
Though a competition must be bold and challenging, it must also be achievable so that enough teams want to strive to achieve it.
For more information on the history, power and surge in popularity of prizes please read on below.
As McKinsey explains, “The reason for this is simple: this approach tends to be open to all, putting the problem out to a wider community and so capturing the imagination of a broader group of competitive problem-solvers and thinkers. Essentially, it is a way of crowd-sourcing genius.
“One reason for this is that traditional research funding encourages a risk-averse and cautious mentality, whereas the winner-takes-all nature of prizes breeds a form of intelligent risk-taking. Sometimes that is precisely what is needed. True innovations are often a radical departure from accepted theories, modes of business and beliefs.
“By laying out simple, clear, and objective rules for each competition, incentive prizes stimulate this kind of out-of-the-box thinking. Someone who believes something is impossible is partially correct… it is impossible for them. In order for someone to solve a problem, they first need to believe that it is solvable.
“Incentive prizes help create that belief. As the co-founder of a prize foundation once put it, “without a target, you’ll miss every time.”
Today, sponsors are increasingly innovative in the types of prizes they create and endow. Prizes used to be easy to categorize into one of two major types—“incentive” prizes and “recognition” prizes, or “awards”.
But prizes such as Ashoka’s Changemakers initiative (“Changemakers”) or the FIRST Robotics competition are blurring this boundary. The most successful ones create a demonstration effect for philanthropists looking for compelling new ways that prizes can produce societal benefit, as McKinsey’s report noted.
In sum, a broader range of sponsors is using larger prizes more often – and in more innovative ways – to address a wider array of objectives.
In the year ahead the TTG team will be studying the optimum method of structuring the competitions. This involves drawing upon experts in each field as well as crowd-sourcing ideas and experiences.
Generally prizes will not be ‘winner takes all’, but a cascade of prize money for those who finish highly-placed. The top prizes in some subjects will have prizes in the millions of Euros. Some will have much smaller purses.
Some prizes will offer protection of IP and commercial opportunities for winners. Others will be open source, with solutions or technology open to all.
Rules will clarify that a small portion of prizes can be spent on and by the winners, but the majority of prize money must be devoted to scaling or delivering successful impact outcomes for good.