Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mix It All Up in a Melting Pot (Part One)

The Foundation receives hundreds of inquiries a year from people around the world wanting to know how they can get their idea developed into an X PRIZE or X CHALLENGE and how they can use an idea they have already developed to win an active X PRIZE or X CHALLENGE competition. What we have gathered from this is that you all want to know HOW TO GET INVOLVED, and I am here to tell you that what the people want, the people will get! As such, I am going to dedicate the next two Prize Development blogs to answering some of the most frequently submitted questions in regards to the X PRIZE idea submission and idea selection process!

Q. Does the X PRIZE Foundation consider X PRIZE and X CHALLENGE competition ideas submitted by individuals?

A. Absolutely! The Foundation believes that innovation is the key to implementing revolutionary change within our society, and that the heart of such innovation lies within anyone who dares to dream. Not only do we regularly review and assess ideas submitted by the general public for X CHALLENGE and X PRIZE competitions, but we also encourage suggestions on specific prize areas (e.g. plastic pollution) in which you feel that an X PRIZE can make a monumental difference. If you wish to submit a potential prize concept or prize subject area idea to the Prize Development department, please email us at idea@xprize.org. Further, the X PRIZE Foundation often reaches out to the public specifically for the purposes of harvesting and utilizing the awesome ideas that we know are incubating out there! The people that entered our Crazy Green Idea (http://www.xprize.org/crazy-green-idea) competition not only knocked our socks off with their inventive “green” technologies, but also provided inspiration for several different larger Energy & Environment prize concepts that are currently in development.

Q. How do you choose which prize ideas to develop into X PRIZES or an X CHALLENGES?

A. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. While we welcome prize idea submissions and feedback at any time, the number of new prize ideas that we choose to develop each year can vary based on a number of different factors. Some of these factors include:

1. The number of prizes that are currently in development. At any given time, there can be as few as five or as many as twelve prize ideas in development. As we mentioned in our last blog, the Prize Design process can take up to 8 months to complete, so the more ideas that the Prize Development team is currently developing, the less bandwidth we have to begin development on new prize concepts.

2. The subject matter the prize concept is addressing. As you know, there are four X PRIZE Foundation Prize Groups: Exploration, Life Sciences, Education & Global Development, and Energy & Environment. Whenever possible, we try to have a relatively equal amount of prize concepts being developed across the four Prize Groups, so if there are four prizes currently in development in Life Sciences, we might not be as apt to begin development on a new Life Sciences prize idea in favor of developing a prize idea within one of the other three Prize Groups.

3. The marketplace. The X PRIZE Foundation keeps an ear to the ground in order to always be up-to-date on the most critical issues facing the nation as well as the solutions people across the world are developing to address these issues. In fact, our most recently launched competition, the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE (www.iprizecleanoceans.org ) was developed in record time (a matter of weeks) specifically to address the lack of an acceptable solution to stem the widespread disaster that inevitably results from an oil spill. I say that to say this: if your prize idea is relevant, timely, informative, and not being done elsewhere, you may very well become the mind behind the next X PRIZE or X CHALLENGE competition!

Q. I heard about an X PRIZE or X CHALLENGE competition that I know that I can win- what do I do?

A. If the competition has in fact launched, please check the competition website for more details on the team registration process and the official rules of the competition. For anyone interested in competing in the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE, please be advised that that competition has NOT YET launched, but you can PRE-REGISTER your team to compete in the competition by visiting (www.iprizecleanoceans.org). Once you have completed the pre-registration form, you will receive regular updates on the metrics, guidelines, and status of the competition. If you cannot find a website for a specific prize competition that you are interested in competing in, the odds are that the competition is not yet active and it would be best to continue to check the www.xprize.org website for more information as it is developed. I receive hundreds of letters, pictures, and props every year from people that want to enter prize competitions that they have heard about and WE LOVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM, but unfortunately there is a method to our madness and the only way to enter a prize competition is:

1. For the competition to be actively accepting applications from potential teams

2. To submit said application through the official website for that competition

Whew, that was an eyeful! I hope that those of you that are interested in submitting a prize idea to the Prize Development department or have submitted a prize idea in the past found that helpful! As the title of the blog suggests, we feel that the best way to keep creating prize competitions that prioritize innovation and spark worldwide revolution is to take every idea or suggestion we receive, mix them all up in a melting pot, and work together to build on the strengths of our collective creativity in order to impact REAL CHANGE. More Q&A to come in Part Two!

By: Taryn Williams, Executive Coordinator, Prize Development

1 comment:

Thanuja said...

Its an interesting one....