Dr. Peter Diamandis is the founder and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation:
“The X PRIZE Foundation is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity, thereby inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets that are currently stuck due to existing failures or a commonly held belief that a solution is not possible.”
For the last 17 years, X PRIZE tackled challenges such as Lunar exploration, genomics and medical diagnosis. Individuals and large corporations offer prizes for the best innovators. The foundation helped opening up new industries, such as the personal spaceflight industry.
In his last book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Dr Diamandis and Steven Kotler challenge the way we tackle disruptive innovation. I haven’t read his book just yet, I came across his 2012 TED Talk (video below). His books’ main talking points are summed up on Wikipedia:
- “Technologies in computing, energy, medicine and many other areas are improving at an exponential rate and will soon enable breakthroughs that today seem impossible.
- These technologies have allowed independent innovators to achieve startling advances in many areas of technology with little money or manpower.
- Technology has created a generation of “techno-philanthropists” (such as Bill Gates) who are using their billions to try to solve seemingly unsolvable problems such as hunger and disease.
- The lives of the world’s poorest people are being improved substantially because of technology.”
My thoughts on X PRIZE:
Crowdsourcing and business competitions have been around for some time. But when you add up über-rich trustees that have an interest driving things forward, and help focusing talented individuals to work on critical tasks: we still have amazing results to come!
Most large corporations will have top-notch R&D programs, working on “the next big thing”. Yet, all large corporations must compose with their legacy business offering (hi Microsoft!), lobbies (hi car manufacturers!) and lack of short-term return on investment (hi every-single-business!). All of that is slowing them down significantly, you can read find many articles by Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation in large companies, or lack thereof.
Technology is now good enough and cheap enough for crazy people all around the world to ship robots to the Moon and back, sequence genome, clean up oil spills…
That’s what Diamandis means by “a world of Abundance”: Exciting times ahead! Is it scary that large corporation and wealthy individuals help opening up new billion dollar industries? Yes, “good” scary, let’s keep the ball rolling!
-Rodolphe (initially published on dutel.fr)
Check out his talk: