White House launches website to farm ideas

The White House is offering US citizens cash if they can help solve some problems in government departments.

Challenge.gov, which was launched earlier this week, has gathered more than 35 challenges posed by more than 15 agencies and allows just about anyone to get one over on bigwigs by offering answers. For their trouble brainiacs will also get paid.

There are a range of challenges for US citizens to get their teeth into including helping America’s public school educators to help identify, solve and implement the best services to some of the most pressing classroom-based problems. Awards of up to $2,500 will be offered for ingenious ideas.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also asking for help with promoting web tools that use the agency’s databases to help people select health care options. The EPA is challenging colleges across the country to compete to see which can reuse and recycle the most waste at football games.

The US Department of Agriculture and First Lady Michelle Obama also want teams of people to create tasty and healthy recipes that can be used in school lunch programs. Winning teams will be invited to prepare their recipes alongside White House chefs, and the challenge includes $12,000 in prize money.

And the prizes are alright too. A $2,500 award will be awarded to the kid that best answers the question: “How can I become president when I grow up?” Up to $500 will be awarded by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to a middle school student who makes the best poster to teach families about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

There’s also a $10 million award for someone who can think up how to create a car that gets more than 100 miles per gallon.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Annesh Chopra said offering prizes allows the government to articulate a bold goal without predicting what approach is most likely to succeed, which should boost the number of people seeking to solve the problem.

“Challenge.gov marks a dramatic departure from business as usual,” she told News OK.

The website, led by the General Services Administration, can be used by any agency to freely post rules and resources for challenges. The site also allows anyone to submit a potential answer.

We’ve been spamming it simply with “Communism.” all day long.