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And the GSA Prize for Best Web Video Goes to...

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, May 3 2010

As we've been noting around the blog a lot lately, online contests with small cash awards, X Prize style challenges, and other incentive-laden experiments are becoming part of the Obama brand of public administration. At this point, some of the earliest projects in that space are wrapping up, which gives us a chance to see how well these engagements are turning out, and whether they're worth the investment.

GSA, as (I think) we've highlighted in the past, had been offering $2,500 for the best web video showing just how excellent their USA.gov portal is as a way for citizens to engage with their government. A winner has been announced. Out of a field of 30 entries, according to GSA, Nashville's Peter Sullivan has taken the gold with a video that features both a genuinely catch tune and some home-made special effects. Since watching the spot earlier today, I haven't been able to get "U-S-A dot gov!" out of my head, which I guess is the point. No word from GSA and what they'll do with the winning video, and it has only attracted about 550 YouTube views thus far.

There's been other significant news in the government contest space of late.

Remember that contest to help Obama pick a high school at which to deliver a commencement address this spring? Some 170,000 people voted, reports White House Domestic Policy Council deputy director Heather Higginbottom. "Over a thousand schools submitted outstanding applications that are testament to the great work happening in public schools around the country," she blogged. Kalamazoo Central even launched an online campaign to make it into the final round, and it seems to have worked. It will be joined there by Clark Montessori in Cincinnati and the Denver School of Science and Technology. The winner, as selected by the President and staff, will be announced tomorrow. The "losers" will have the opportunity to get a cabinet secretary or senior administration official to deliver the graduation address in Obama's stead.

And then over on the OSTP blog, U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra writes up a contest that is offering $5,000 for the best visualization of government health care data. "I am hopeful that when we tap into the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people, we will strengthen our democracy and help improve the lives of everyday Americans," he writes.

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