Cisco has opened the second I-Prize Global Innovation Contest to find the next billion dollar idea.

Entrepreneurs worldwide can work in teams and submit their proposals, which will be evaluated for their technological innovation and business value.

The ideas should also have the potential to generate at least $1 billion in revenue for Cisco over a five- to seven-year period.

Ideas can fall into any of four categories, ranging from a solution to change the way organisations do business, to an innovation that will change the future of entertainment. All the ideas must use the IP network as a platform.

Entrants will be in the running for a $250,000 prize. Furthermore, Cisco may license the technology for inclusion in future products. A total 2,500 participants entered the first Cisco I-Prize competition in 2008.

To establish the value of their ideas, entrants will be able to use a management platform, powered by Spigit, which enables them to buy and sell ideas on an open market. Shares of ideas are purchased with virtual currency awarded to participants based on the value of their contributions.

Participants can also collaborate using Cisco’s collaboration tools, including its Show and Share social video community and Cisco WebEx, an online meeting platform for audio and web conferencing that enables users to share documents and desktops in real time.

Entrants can also use Cisco Pulse to find experts and information on a particular topic.

In the inaugural I-Prize competition, a Germany- and Russia-based team won with a business plan to improve energy efficiency using IP technology.

Anyone wanting to enter can do so here.

Martin Rice, CEO of Endurin believes the government needs to do more to spur technology innovation, read his views here.