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Grant Applications and Competition

AshokaTraditional grant competitions request proposals, review them in private, and announce winners. It is an effective and proven formula, but it neglects one major opportunity: the proposals themselves contain great ideas, but most are never made public. What if all proposals were posted online, either after the competition, or even during it?

Ashoka, the non-profit organization that promotes social entrepreneurship around the globe, has conducted grant competitions that do just that. The Changemakers grant series, for example, posts all proposals online for all to see as soon as they are submitted. Ashoka calculates that the social value of broadcasting good ideas outweighs either proprietary or competitive concerns that this approach can raise. Cooperation is good. Competition is good. Sometimes the best balance is "coopetition", as evidenced in this innovative approach to grant applications.