Last week there were robust conversations here on this blog and on Beth’s blog about the purpose and meaning of the Pepsi Refresh Project. More interesting than the posts, I dare say, were the conversation in the comments. I appreciated Bonin Bough, Global Director of Digital & Social Media, PepsiCo commenting on my blog about the extension of the contest to provide support for the grantees and evaluate the results.
However, I was most excited about the comment on Beth’s blog by Ben Rigby of The Extraordinaries, who wrote:
“…with a little tweak, there could be a lot more value from contests like these that benefits both Pepsi, the participating nonprofits, and the stakeholders. That tweak is to give the money on the basis of an output… or at least on a conditional output.
This is, of course, how “Challenge” models like the Xprize work… where Xprize says “10 million goes to the first group that can produce X,Y&Z.” Eg: a spaceship.
As a result of that 10m prize, generated about 100m worth of investment into space technology. There was no wasted energy here. Xprize got the heck promoted out of it. And the investment of time/energy/money by all parties (even the losers) benefited the space technology sector. Genius.
On a smaller scale, NetSquared has been doing something similar. They operate challenges in which competitors’ entries are outcomes based projects. Ie: something you are committing to DO with the money – or that you’ve DONE (and will do more of) as a result of the challenge. The whole focus is about DOing, rather than just voting.”
This is such a great and fun idea. How about a foundation puts up a million dollars awarded to the person, organization or network of people and orgs that can solve a problem best. The problem has to be very clearly defined, but wouldn’t it be exciting for a philanthropic contest to be focused on problem solving rather than just popularity voting. And as the Netflix challenge revealed, problem solving, particularly using social media, becomes about collaboration rather than competition.
Now that would be Refreshing!