Each year, the Buckminster Fuller Institute awards $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a solution that has significant potential to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems. This prize program is a call to the world’s artists, scientists, designers, architects, engineers, students, and entrepreneurs committed to playing a transformative role in addressing the biggest issues we face today, attracting an international, interdisciplinary pool of participants tackling a vast array of pressing problems in hundreds of countries around the world.
Inspired by Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller’s prolific life of exploration, discovery, invention and teaching was driven by his intention “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone.”
Fuller coupled this intention with a pioneering approach aimed at solving complex problems. This approach, which he called “comprehensive anticipatory design science”, combined an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor and faithful reliance on nature’s underlying principles. The designs he is best known for (the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion house, car, and map, and the global electric grid) were part of a visionary strategy to redesign the inter-related systems of shelter, transportation and energy.
After decades of tracking world resources, innovations in science and technology, and human needs, Fuller asserted that options exist to successfully surmount the crises of unprecedented scope and complexity facing all humanity – he issued an urgent call for a design science revolution to make the world work for all.
Answering this call is what the Buckminster Fuller Challenge is all about.
Buckminster Fuller Institute: Mission
The Buckminster Fuller Institute is dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of solutions which radically advance human well being and the health of our planet’s ecosystems. We aim to deeply influence the ascendance of a new generation of design-science pioneers who are leading the creation of an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity.
Our programs combine unique insight into global trends and local needs with a comprehensive approach to design. We encourage participants to conceive and apply transformative strategies based on a crucial synthesis of whole systems thinking, Nature’s fundamental principles, and an ethically driven worldview.
By facilitating convergence across the disciplines of art, science, design and technology, our work extends the profoundly relevant legacy of R. Buckminster Fuller. In this way, we strive to catalyze the collective intelligence required to fully address the unprecedented challenges before us.
Buckminster Fuller Challenge: Program Goals
The Program’s guiding objective is to catalyze wide-spread change in our understanding and approach to solving complex global problems. To achieve this, the program seeks to:
1. Create a rigorous, transformational process for entry in which applicants grapple deeply with a unique set of criteria.
2. Promote and disseminate an integrated, comprehensive, systems-based approach to the design of solutions.
3. Highlight and reward exemplary strategies which embody this approach.
4. Accelerate the implementation of these solutions. Buckminster Fuller Challenge accelerator features include benefits outside of prize money. Scroll down to read about them.
What We’re Looking For
Winning the Buckminster Fuller Challenge will require more than a great stand-alone innovation. If for example, your solution emphasizes a new design, material, process, service, tool, technology, or any combination, it is essential that it be part of an integrated strategy dealing with key social, economic, environmental, policy and cultural issues.
The winning solution should exemplify the trimtab principle. Trimtabs are small steering devices used on ships and airplanes which demonstrate how relatively small amounts of leverage, energy, and resources strategically applied at the right time and place can produce maximum advantageous change.
Entrants must put forward a bold, visionary, tangible initiative that is focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. Proposed solutions must represent a preferred state model – one that aims to optimize conditions from inception in order to create the most desirable, sustainable, future outcome. Entries should be regionally specific yet globally applicable, and backed up by a solid plan and the capability to move the solution forward.
The winning strategy will integrate all these criteria into a powerful catalyst having the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.
Registration Deadline: Friday, April 12, 2013.
Submission Deadline: Friday, April 12, 2013.
Competition website: Visit website