Prizes in Economic Development

Some of you know that I was one of the original backers of the X PRIZE that awarded $10 million to the first private team to build and launch a piloted spacecraft to 100 kilometers above the earth’s surface, twice within two weeks. As far back as my undergraduate days at Georgia Tech, I wrote a paper on the British Crown’s establishment of a £20,000 Longitude Prize in 1714. (Years later, Dava Sobel wrote a great book about this… Longitude. Read it!)

I’m a big believer in prizes!

The Federal government has recently embraced prizes as a tool to encourage innovation… and cities are embracing prizes to foster new ideas among inventors, artists, and others. They’re a great way to maximize the return for minimal dollars… attractive in tight budget periods!

Next Wednesday, 3 October 2012, the Georgia Tech Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) program will be presenting a panel discussion on prizes as an economic development tool. We are expecting Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs in the U.S. Department of Commerce, as well as Eloisa Klementich from Invest Atlanta. They’ll be talking about current and planned examples of prizes to spur local economic development. (I’ll be moderating.)

This should be a great discussion, and it’s free to the public. Please join us in the Hodges Room (Centergy Building, 75 Fifth Street NW, Atlanta) from 12:30 to 2:00 If you have questions, contact Lynn Willingham.

Thanks to our co-sponsors, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and the Georgia Economic Developers Association.