- Here’s the part you may know already: Sometimes it isn’t so smart to give out a cash prize for the best idea. It usually works in a counter intuitive manner if your goal is collaboration. Instead of people working together, they hoard their ideas to the end of the contest for fear of having someone “steal” their idea and taking the cash prize. Plus if you give out $25 this month and $50 the next, pretty soon you’re escalating from beyond the world of giving out t-shirts to iPods to iPads to Cars…and then what are you going to give out next year that can top that?
What you need to do is reward contributions with acknowledgement. The best ideas will come by themselves if you can just get a bunch of people to collaborate.
- Here’s the new info you may not already know: Recently Nathan Schneider wrote an essay explaining “the Templeton Effect” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. He tells the story of the world of academic philosophers. John Templeton started a foundation giving multimillion dollar grants for answers to the “big questions” like “the scholarly investigation of character”. A non-Templeton grant to a philosopher is usually closer to $25,000. Suddenly every contributor is paying attention to the “big questions” but less spiritual inquires are being ignored.