In my email today is a message from the Buckminster Fuller institute announcing the winner of their 2009 Design Science Challenge. And, as was the case in 2007, I didn’t win.  Of course I didn’t enter this year, so that may have impacted the judges decision.  I didn’t enter in 2008 either but I was among the hopefuls in the 2007 contest.  The rules simply state propose something that will “support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems”. The prize is $100,000 to be spent on implementing the winning strategy.  This year there were over 200 entries, up from the 50 or so in the 2007 inaugural contest.  The brain power(present company excepted), both academic and activist, behind the submissions is awe-inspiring.  So much so that I find it incredulous that these problem solvers have to compete for a mere $100,000 while problem creators are receiving hundreds of billions of dollars to perpetuate their way of thinking.

My entry, proposed that the best way to solve the pressing problems of humanity’s future was to encourage humanity at large to share their ideas about the way things should be, just as Bucky had done.  My modest plan called for the construction of a Web Site to collect AND PROMOTE these ideas without editiorial comment.  I included a disclaimer indicating I knew full well this was not the kind of plan that was worthy of a $100,000 prize, nor was it meant to compete with the wisdom found in other proposals.  However, I did suggest to them that they should set aside $1 in prize money for every entry submitted and award it to all runners up along with a “Trim-Tab” certificate.  This would then allow all the worthy ideas presented to be honored.  

While I never got my dollar or my Trim-Tab award, I am proud to say that the Idea Index is now a part of the BFI Site and they saw fit to name a runnerup this year.  Now we just have to get the promotion side of this off the ground and we’ll really have something.  I intend to promote the idea of idea promotion at the upcoming 2009 Hollywood Pitch Festival.  In the meantime feel free to spread the word and maybe even submit your own ideas in the 2010 competition.