INNOVATION: THEME 9
The National Innovation Competition
9.1 The nature of the competition
The competition organisers would call for innovative solutions to problems of current popular interest. E.g.,
"How do we get our four national football teams to the World Cup finals, with one of the taking the trophy? "
"How do we reduce youth crime?"
"How do we cope with traffic problems in the twenty first century?"
NESTA, with its broad brief to promote national innovation is suggested as the competition organisor.
9.2 This annual competition would have three innovation related aims:
The competition would be split into a number of classes, to tease out different clusters of innovative thinking. Classes could include:
Summaries of all acceptable entries would be published on the NESTA web site. Then, after a knock-out round judged by a NESTA panel, to cut down the numbers to a manageable size, the general public would vote for the finalists by phone and over the internet. A few enthusiastic supporters of some proposals might be tempted to vote early and vote often, but by keeping the voting period down to an hour or so during an evening television programme related to the competition, the vote rigging problem could be kept to a minimum.
9.3 Funding the National Innovation Competition
Prizes would be contributed by sponsors, but to ensure that the competition received very broad media coverage, sponsorship by newspapers would be discouraged.
9.4 Government commitment
Parliamentary time should be made available for at least one private member's bill, based on ideas generated by the competition, to make its way through parliament. Parliament would still have the final say on legislation, but it would give the rest of us, who are so quick to criticise politicians, a real chance to put our dinner table politics to a real public test.