Tim Harford, in Adapt, talks eloquently and favourably about the use of innovation prizes to spur innovative thinking. He concludes that, hands-down, it's the most cost-efficient way to conduct research and development. The success of the Kramer prize and the various X-Prizes, as significant examples, also demonstrate the ultimate effectiveness of the approach. More recently, the DARPA-sponsored UAVForge event was intended to provide an incentive to solve the intractable 'perch-and-stare' requirement. Although the prize was not claimed, it seemed to drive some very innovative thinking.
What I'm trying to determine the level of interest in one, or maybe even a series of innovation prizes aimed at driving innovation and deployment of UAV/UGV technology in the oil & gas industry. There is no pre-conceived notion as to what the applications might be, but the one that most use as an example is pipeline and facilities inspection. But realistically, any of the dull/dirty/dangerous jobs of the oil & gas industry would be candidates for a competition.
I would be very interested in hearing the membership's thoughts on this topic. In particular, what specific tasks would be valid for such competitions, the level of award that would get potential participants attention...in fact, anything which would help evaluate the idea. Thanks very much for your help.
(Photo courtesy of djmacpherson)