The Google Lunar X Prize and Other Aerospace Competitions
Chapter 9: Conclusions
Inducement prizes, where cash rewards are given to motivate the attainment of targets, have long been used to stimulate individuals, groups and communities to accomplish diverse types of goals. Lately, prizes that reward the achievement of technological targets have increasingly attracted attention due to their potential to induce path-breaking innovations and accomplish related goals, such as economic recovery or the engagement of social groups to create innovation communities. Governments have become more and more interested in these prizes and, particularly in the USA, sought to include this incentive mechanism within the set of policy tools available to promote science, technology and innovation. Innovation prizes, or prizes that involve some kind of technological innovation, are among those that policy makers are most interested in. To date however, despite the long history of prizes as incentives for science and technology, their notable potential, recent popularity and increasing policy interest, there has been little empirically based scientific knowledge on how to design, manage and evaluate innovation prizes. This research has investigated technology prizes and the means by which they induce innovation or other effects related with technological development. The project was set out to engage four key aspects of prizes for which there have been significant knowledge gaps: the motivation of entrants, their R & D activities, their technology outputs and the overall effect of prizes on innovation. Using an empirical, multiple case-study methodology and multiple types of data sources, this research investigated three cases of recent aerospace technology prizes: a main case study, the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP) for robotic Moon exploration; and two pilot cases, the Ansari X Prize (AXP) for the first private reusable manned spacecraft, and the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge (NGLLC) for flights of reusable rocket-powered vehicles.
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