On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown and Assemblyman Mike Gatto announced the participating agencies of the California Innovation Award, established by Gatto’s AB 2138 in 2014, which awards a prize of up to $25,000 for Californians who provide intellectual property that solves a specific problem, innovates a process, or streamlines a system within a government agency.
“Many people are frustrated with the inefficiencies of government and know exactly what to do to improve a system or process,” said Gatto. “Imagine a young Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or other Silicon Valley prodigy just waiting for the opportunity to demonstrate his or her incredible knowledge and skill. They could earn $25,000 and a lifetime of renown, while helping California to save potentially millions of dollars and making the state more efficient and accessible.”
Gov. Brown tasked Caltrans, the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), and the Dept. of General Services (DGS) to participate in the “$25K Find a New Way” contest. Californians can participate in the contest by visiting www.findanewway.ca.gov (or the departments’ individual websites) to enter.
“Californians have contributed some of the best transportation solutions in the country and we look forward to putting a great idea into action,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty, whose contest seeks the best idea for improving the state’s transportation system.
In 2011, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched an Experimental Crowd-Derived Combat Support Vehicle Design Challenge with a $7,500 prize. More than 150 submissions came in during the month-long contest, and it was ultimately won by Victor Garcia, who was working an entry-level job at a truck manufacturer. Within 14 weeks his prototype was built and delivered, with keys, to President Obama.
The “$25K Find a New Way” contest will reward actual intellectual property, not just vague ideas. As in the DARPA example, the agency did not acquire a mere idea (i.e., “You should build a new combat transport”), but actual intellectual property (plans and blueprints) that would normally cost millions of dollars and take a significant amount of time.
“The people of California are resourceful and inventive,” said Gatto. “Incentives like this showcase Californians’ creative solutions to some of the state’s most pressing issues.”
To learn more about the Innovation Award contests and rules, and to submit an application online, use a QR reader on your mobile device to scan this QR code: