All the insights gathered about the community of solvers – from what’s preventing them to work on solutions, to what could motivate them – are extremely valuable. They’re not only useful because they can inform the design of an incentivisation approach, but because they can also help contextualise the role of a funding organisation.
Depending on the type of problem and maturity of the community, the role of a funding programme may be to:
Build a community: If the problem is not well known, the funding organisation should focus on raising awareness of the problem and creating a community of solvers that are motivated, well resourced, and recognised as working on a worthwhile problem.
Expand a community: If what is blocking progress is a lack of new ideas, the funding organisation should focus on engaging new people with different skills and perspectives, nurturing opportunities for collaboration and/or constructive competition, and encouraging idea exchange.
Support a community: If the problem is not being addressed because of a lack of resources, the funding organisation should supply the community of solvers with relevant resources such as funding, access to facilities and equipment, feedback from mentors, users, industry, or investors.
This way of thinking about funding programmes and their role can be useful when choosing a suitable incentivisation approach.