The Common Pool was founded on a basic set of principles. First, we believe in the power of competition. Second, we believe that because of market failures there are many dilemmas that present real costs to each of us, including an inefficient distribution of resources and a lack of creative talent motivated to solving important problems. Third, we believe that by offering nontrivial rewards and financial incentives for participating, we can drive fundamental breakthroughs in sectors where there is currently insufficient attention and investment. By designing and showcasing these new incentive models, in a way that does not presume a particular answer and that only rewards success upon proof of performance, we can unlock many of the systemic and social challenges that inhibit innovation.
Our expertise is designing and delivering new incentives models that will attract fresh thinking and expanded investment towards a targeted outcome. We also recognize that our models offer tremendous marketing and resource management appeal for commercial interests, particularly those ready to invite new participation towards overcoming discreet obstacles. Whether we are driving outcomes for nonprofit, corporate or government partners, we begin with a particular set of tools that are tested and proven in generating results.
Prizes & Awards
Prizes and awards date back to the 15th century and have been used to recognize or generate a wide range of important breakthroughs. We utilize four types. First there are awards for results that have already taken place (ex post
); they are the most popular
type, and they can be divided into recognizing excellence in developing theories or ideas and/or awarding evidence towards the application of a theory or idea. For example, the Nobel Prize in Economics recognizes breakthrough theory, while the Nobel Peace Prize recognizes valiant proof of action. Second, there are prizes that induce breakthroughs (ex ante
). These prizes do not qualify or recognize something that has already taken place; instead, they generate new ideas or proofs. And, they can also be divided into offering rewards for the best theory or plan of action versus offering rewards for the best evidence of practically applying a theory or plan. For example, when Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, he took that risk in order to win fame and a $25,000 cash prize, resulting in an important and radical accomplishment that led to a new era of commercial aviation. Today, as business interests begin to realize the advantages of prize-induced innovation, they are increasingly developing competitions in which students and entrepreneurs are offered cash rewards and other stimulating opportunities to present new ideas or business plans for addressing product development and/or management issues. Rather than spending limited resources on internal research and development with no assurance of an outcome, companies are offering prizes for the best plan to address their unique obstacles, and they only pay for results while receiving a full range of potential solutions. There are many attributes to a well designed prize or award, but the most important is "leverage," in which the sponsor or partners benefits from a wide range of exogenous activity for their own purposes.
Today, we are seeing an exponential growth in the use of prizes and awards (see McKinsey Report
); unfortunately, the number of cautionary tales is also mounting. The Common Pool offers you seasoned and successful incentive engineers
who have studied and understand the operational issues involved in designing and managing a prize and/or award. We deliver highly credible and talented team members, to ensure that your needs are met and that others will quickly recognize the pedigree associated with each venture. To learn more about these unique talents and how you can harness them to meet your needs, please contact
us for an initial consultation.
Advanced Market Commitments
One of the unique traits of effective prizes is that they do not typically presume the answer. Historically, many significant prize-induced breakthroughs have invited nontraditional thinking and activity from disciplines outside of the typical range of participants (see Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
). While the preferences and biases of our partners and sponsors are embedded in the tools and rules of each prize, we invite the widest range of potential solutions, to ensure diversity of thought and experimentation. However, there are times when we are challenged to solve more defined problems, some of which require advances constrained by existing systems or functions. In these cases, we employ Advanced Market Commitments.
Advanced Market Commitments offer a financial incentive for innovation, only in the form of a contracted order for the first person to produce a particular product or component in a particular quantity. These contracts also may include a stipulated price per unit above a certain quantity. Advanced Market Commitments have many strengths, especially in specifying the particular attributes of the presumed function and work well for integrating innovative solutions into existing systems where certain connectivity issues can be rate-limiting. However, they also require a deep understanding of the pricing implications of these new advances. You need to offer an incentive that is properly motivating, and assuming the value of something that has not yet been invented requires careful forecasting.
The Common Pool relies on our team of subject matter experts to calculate these assumptions and to bring a range of experiences from both technology development and finance or venture capital. It is not enough to simply specify the functional requirements; it is also essential that we properly price these contracts to draw out players who can properly advance your needs.
Cause Related Marketing
The power of incentives are often a function of the exposure that they receive. At The Common Pool, we are committed to managing each client engagement as a campaign, in which the opportunities that we create are broadcast to a well defined audience. We begin to discuss these marketing needs early during our orientation process, to ensure that you receive additional value in advancing your brand and associating your organization or company with bold and rational thinking. Then, we deliver a campaign that can yield the greatest amount of participation against these new opportunities.
Whether we are integrating new incentives into your existing messaging agenda or bringing fresh perspective to brand activation, in every instance our campaigns end when your problems are solved and after you have convened a new community of inovators, each dedicated to helping unlock your unique challenge(s). Fortunately, these communities can extend far beyond the duration of a single campaign. And, the follow-on opportunities for harnessing their individual and/or collective performance are many. To borrow a popular analogy, the value of such shows as American Idol extend far beyond any single winner. And, you can identify talented and effective players who may continue to yield results for you over the long term.
Games & New Media
Today, we are more connected and technologically integrated than at any time in history. And, we owe a great deal of these advances to the power of games and new media. In fact, one of the greatest successes in the last ten years has been the dramatic shrinking of the "digital divide." We know now that even disadvantaged communities are achieving online access as one of the fastest growing segments in the Internet economy. The Common Pool remains committed to developing games and new media to drive results for our clients.
Whether we are adopting a strategy to offer social networking components for your new incentives or developing games and novel applications to engage young people and technologically savvy participants, our clients consistently realize value in using these tools to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone.
Finally, knowing your current assets and where you would like to take your company or organization is an important step in advancing your interests. At The Common Pool, our assessment and open communication is key to achieving your success. We will meet with you personally and get an understanding of your situation, goals, and objectives face-to-face. Planning is key to our success, and we are here to assist you with the during the important planning stage before we work together to meet your needs.
The Common Pool was founded to tailor each of these services. Contact us today to schedule an initial introduction and assessment.