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UNESCO Paper-Prizes-for-Innovation-Arora2016.pdf
UNESCO (2016)
  • Payal Arora
The use of prizes to stimulate innovation in education has dramatically increased in recent
years, but, to date, no organization has attempted to critically examine the impact these
prizes have had on education. This report attempts to fill this gap by conducting a landscape
review of education prizes with a focus on technology innovation in developing countries.
This report critically analyses the diversity of education prizes to gauge the extent to which
these new funding mechanisms lead to innovative solutions in this sector. This is
supplemented with interviews with sponsors and prize participants to gain the muchneeded
practitioner’s perspective. We address important questions that pervade as prizes
are being implemented in this sector: What seems to be working and why? How do prizes
compare to other funding mechanisms to stimulate technology innovations? How is
sustainability achieved? What can be learned that can inform the design of future prizes?
We structure our recommendations along the Doblin framework, which entails analyzing
the design of prizes along the criteria of Resources (sponsorships & partnerships), Structure
(types of prizes, eligibility criteria, scope, types of ICT projects, phases, & intellectual
property rights), Motivators (monetary & non-monetary Incentives, Communications
(marketing), and, Evaluation (measuring impact and long-term sustainability). Through this
process, a number of important assumptions are re-examined, namely, that technology
innovation is central to educational reform, prizes stimulate innovation, scalability is a proxy
for sustainability, and prizes are the most efficient funding mechanism to stimulate
innovation. We recalibrate expectations of technology innovation prizes in the educational
field against empirical evidence. We reveal key trends through the deploying of prizes in this
field and offer case studies as good practices for sponsors to consider when designing future
prizes. The report makes recommendations along each of the given criteria to enhance the
impact of prizes, drawing from interdisciplinary sources. The intent of this report is to
enable sponsors to distinguish the hype surrounding these prizes and proceed to design
prizes that can best serve the education sector.
  • digital economy,
  • innovation,
  • literacy,
  • prizes,
  • sustainability,
  • education,
  • ICT
Publication Date
Fall November 1, 2016
Citation Information
Payal Arora. "UNESCO Paper-Prizes-for-Innovation-Arora2016.pdf" UNESCO (2016)
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