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MISO Challenge: New Approaches to Outage Coordination

  • Award: $15000 USD
  • Challenge type: Ideation
  • Challenge under evaluation

Challenge overview


MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) is an independent, not-for-profit, member-based organization that delivers safe, cost-effective electric power across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. A major service they provide is the coordination of scheduled and unscheduled outages of electricity generation and transmission assets. These assets are controlled by various stakeholders and must occasionally be taken offline for maintenance and repair. MISO must ensure that these outages don’t jeopardize the stability and functionality of the bulk electric system while still allowing for the necessary downtime. Currently, MISO has a complex and time consuming process for scheduling outages and they are seeking a better method. Rather than simply automating the current process they are using this Challenge to gather new and different approaches to outage coordination.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.



Every large organization deals with resource scheduling and allocation. Whether it involves equipment, raw materials, supplies, or human resources, planning for scheduled and unscheduled shortages or outages is an essential component of running an efficient and responsive organization. Take, for example, a city with a surrounding network of roads and highways as well as parking garages in the city. The roadways and garages need periodic maintenance and repair and we would hope the city has a system to easily and efficiently evaluate the timing of road construction and parking garage repair to ensure there is adequate road capacity and parking availability during these outages. Similarly, if a bridge collapses or emergency pothole repair is required the system should adapt quickly to assess and possibly postpone scheduled outages to ensure traffic continues to flow.

This city example involves one stakeholder controlling the assets for which outages are to be scheduled and thus the scheduling should be straightforward. Imagine a scenario where multiple stakeholders control the assets and the organization responsible for scheduling has little to no visibility into the stakeholders’ individual resource schedules. This is a vastly simplified view of the situation MISO faces. As the operator of a significant portion of the bulk electric system in the U.S. and parts of Canada they are responsible for managing planned and unplanned outages across their network. The outage coordination service MISO supplies to its participants relies on multiple tools to analyze and account for expected future supply and demand of electricity, weather, and regional conditions to ensure that assets can be taken offline without impacting the reliability of the bulk electric system. The analysis tools are not integrated with the scheduling or forecasting systems and this leads to a complex and time consuming process for scheduling outages. The focus of this Challenge is not on suggestions for automating the current system, but rather on new and different approaches for outage coordination that is efficient, transparent, and allows for a high level of self-service capability for the participants.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on 20-Apr-2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.



Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. (MISO) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that delivers safe, cost-effective electric power to 42 million end-use customers across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO is committed to reliability, nondiscriminatory operation of the bulk power transmission system and collaborating with all stakeholders to create cost-effective and innovative solutions for a changing industry. MISO operates one of the world's largest energy markets with more than $22 billion in annual gross market energy transactions. In 2019, the efforts of MISO and its members provided between $3.1 to $3.9 billion in regional benefits, driven by enhanced reliability, more efficient use of the region’s transmission and generation assets, and a reduced need for new assets.

MISO's world-class energy markets serve as a platform for matching the supply and demand of energy. As a result, our energy markets and their efficient operation optimize transmission utilization, allow market transparency, eliminate pancaked transmission rates and centralize unit commitment and dispatch.


  1. Additional information about MISO is available on its website:
  2. MISO Strategy
  3. MISO Value Proposition
  4. MISO Forward 2019: Delivering Reliability and Value in a 3D Future,” (March 2019).
  5. MISO Reliability Imperative


What is InnoCentive?

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.

What is an InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge?

An InnoCentive Ideation™ Challenge is a broad question formulated to obtain access to new ideas, similar to a global brainstorm for producing a breakthrough idea or market survey which may include ideas for a new product line, a new commercial application for a current product, or even a viral marketing idea to recruit new customers. Ideation™ Challenge submissions are typically about two written pages, and Seekers receive a non-exclusive, perpetual license to use all submissions.

In an Ideation™ Challenge, Solvers may:

  • Submit ideas of their own
  • Submit third party information that they have the right to use and further the authority to convey that right and the right to use and develop derivative works to Seekers
  • Submit information considered in the public domain without any limitations on use

Solvers should not reveal any confidential information in their submissions. Often the Ideation™ Challenge will be followed by one or more of the other three Challenge types to further develop the ideas and gain Intellectual Property protection when the concept has been well-defined.