InnoCentive and The Economist Announce the Winner of a Challenge to Promote Transparency in Governments

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Waltham, Mass. – March 28, 2012 – InnoCentive, Inc., the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, along with The Economist, today announced the winner of The Economist-InnoCentive Transparency Challenge. Ben Skowera, an Associate at SEI Investments presented his solution at the Ideas Economy: Innovation event on March 28th in Berkeley, California. The InnoCentive Challenge, which attracted more than 600 problem Solvers and received more than 115 submissions on the InnoCentive website, asked participants to identify an emerging technology or a national or global information platform and propose an innovative way to use this resource to motivate governments to engage in productive and open discourse with citizens.

The winning solution proposed a four-part approach based on currently available technologies used in online dating, social networking and other applications.  First, a survey would gather data about a users’ political values. Second, a framework would be created to enable policy analysts to provide analyses, in a transparent and quantitative manner, about how a piece of legislation will impact various issues. Third, by combining these two pieces of information, a metric dashboard would be created to help a user identify how well the government is representing them and how each piece of legislation may impact their values. Finally, by using a social networking model and the users’ political values information, the application helps connect users with people that share their values and enable them to organize quickly and more effectively. By combining these aspects, this application has the potential to drive transparency, political action, and create an open discourse with government through improved education of the public.

“This Challenge addresses an issue that is on the minds of many people right now – how to create more transparency in government,” said Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive.  “Using readily available technology to bring constituents together is a great way to put the solution in the hands of citizens without high development costs.  Ben’s solution is a great example of harnessing brilliant thinking for the greater good.”

“We are moving rapidly from a top down model of innovation that favors elites to an open, networked, user-driven model,” said Vijay Vaitheeswaran, China business and finance editor for The Economist. “By harnessing the power of incentives, prizes like those sponsored by the InnoCentive Challenges tap the distributed genius of seven billion innovators-in-waiting.”

The Transparency Challenge is one of a series of Challenges presented jointly by InnoCentive and The Economist as part of The Economist’s Ideas Economy event series.  The next Challenge in the series is The Economist-InnoCentive Smart Systems Challenge, which is seeking visualizations using publicly available data to improve living conditions in an existing neighborhood or community.  The winner of this Challenge will present at the Ideas Economy: Information event in San Francisco, June 5th-6th.

For more information about the joint Challenge series, visit The Economist pavilion on


About InnoCentive

InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, network of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before. For more information, visit or call 1-855-CROWDNOW.


About The Economist (

With a growing global circulation (worldwide: 1,473,939; North America: 833,667) and a reputation for insightful analysis and opinion on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognised and well-read current affairs publications. The paper has sections about each region of the world, plus science and technology, books and arts, and the weekly obituary. The website (, with its 5.9m unique readers, is also accessible through devices including the iPhone and iPad.


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