The Power of Prizes and the Science of Competition

The American University of Bahrain hosted Mr. Jaison Morgan, a globally recognized industry expert in the field of incentive engineering, and CEO of CommonPool. The U.S.-based company funds social enterprises through an open, transparent, and fair process of granting awards, prizes, fellowships, and other forms of incentive-based programs.

Mr. Morgan has served as an Advisor to the Office of the First Minister of Scotland, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the government of the United Arab Emirates, and many multi-national interests, counselling them on competitions for solving large-scale public problems. The sessions mark the second international guest speaker AUBH have hosted this inaugural semester for the Class of 2023, following a successful talk by TED speaker Ingrid Vanderveldt.

In his main session, “The Power of Prizes”, Mr. Morgan discussed the use of competition to foster societal and technological change. He emphasized the importance of open competition from a global talent pool, as well as how to be a young entrepreneur and ‘kick-starter’ of businesses. Over the next two interactive sessions, he explored “The Science of Competition”, discussing game theory and the science of strategy, and maximizing optimal decision-making of independent and competing actors in a strategic setting.

In 2017, Mr. Morgan’s organization CommonPool was responsible for facilitating over $200 million in resources to participants of prize programs around the world, and he has been recognized by the BBC as “the world’s expert” in designing prizes to drive innovative breakthroughs.

Mr. Morgan was welcomed to AUBH by Founding President Dr. Susan E. Saxton, who commented: “Jaison is the second acclaimed international speaker we have invited this semester, as part of our commitment to welcome aspirational and dynamic individuals who have really made a difference in their fields – we feel our students should aim for nothing less. I think we were all enthralled by the science behind structuring and delivering prizes which genuinely advance innovation and transformation. This is kind of real-world practical insight that we want our students to have access to through AUBH.”

Delivering on the promise of an American-style, student-centric experience, President Saxton and her team have committed to many other future guest talks and experiences throughout this inaugural year, plus potential academic and extra-curricular partnership opportunities, to be held for AUBH Students, Staff, and the Community.