What will it take to foster and spread the ideas and practices needed for sustainable development? One thing that has stirred innovative thinking are the positive results of recent prize competitions.
Perhaps the most notable of these – so far – has been the Ansari X Prize. The Ansari X Prize was a space competition
in which the X Prize Foundation
offered a US$
10 million reward for the first non-government organization
to launch the same reusable manned spacecraft
twice within two weeks. It was modeled after early 20th-century aviation
prizes, and aimed to spur development of low-cost spaceflight
. There is real brilliance in this idea, but in the specific terms of the prize, which prompted other competitors – each of whom spent far more than the prize money. The prize, claimed by Scaled Composites
in 2004 for its Tier One
project launched or accelerated a diverse portfolio of private space ventures, “spaceports”, and an industry now worth billions.
Since 2004, prizes have been launched. One, technology-focused competitions is the i6 Green Challenge
by the US government which will reward $1 million to each of six teams around the country with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in support of a green innovation economy, increased U.S. competitiveness and new jobs. There are others with concrete objectives to addressing key issues in ecological conservation, social networking, transparent national governance, and democratic transitions of power
(for example, the Mo Ibrahim prize).
Can this idea work in energy, climate, and development?
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