Each year, The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) invites people from all over the world — including scientists, designers, architects, activists, artists, planners, entrepreneurs, and students — to submit their innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems.
A $100,000 grand prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy, but the Fuller Challenge offers more than a single financial award. In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, BFI seeks to leverage further resources for finalists, semi-finalists, and select entrants through its network and Catalyst Program.
In 2016, BFI will recognize outstanding student proposals
to the challenge. This is the first time that student entries will undergo a separate review and selection process.
Entries open 15 January and close 1 March 2016.
What does the Fuller Challenge look for?
Winning the Fuller Challenge requires more than a stand-alone idea or innovation. BFI looks for whole-system solutions that both demonstrate a clear grasp of the big-picture and focus on a well-defined need of critical importance.
If, for example, your proposal emphasizes a new design, material, process, service, tool or technology, it is essential that it be part of an integrated strategy that simultaneously addresses key social, environmental, and economic factors.
BFI seek strategies that put forth what Fuller called a preferred state model – one designed to optimize conditions from inception in order to create the most desirable, sustainable, regenerative future outcome. BFI is also seeking solutions that embody what Fuller referred to as the trimtab principle - demonstrating that a relatively small initiative inserted into a system at the right time and place can achieve maximum leverage for advantageous change.
Initiatives representing a range of development stages will be reviewed – from early stage proposals with completed proof of concept to fully operating models ready to expand. Entries can tackle urgent needs at a range of geographic scales: from strategies designed for global-scale implementation to initiatives tailored to local or regional conditions. Non-profit, for-profit, and hybrid initiatives are all eligible.
Winning strategies must successfully integrate the fuller challenge criteria:
Visionary — i.e. put forth an original idea or synthesize existing ideas into a new strategy that creatively addresses a critical need.
Comprehensive — apply a whole-system approach to all facets of the design and implementation process and aim to simultaneously address multiple goals, requirements and conditions.
Anticipatory — factor in critical future trends and needs as well as the projected impacts of a project’s implementation in the short and long term.
Ecologically responsible — reflect nature’s underlying principles while enhancing the earth’s life support systems.
Feasible — can demonstrate proof of concept, and relies on existing technology and/or provable science; have a solid team and/or demonstrate a convincing capacity to implement the project.
Verifiable — able to withstand rigorous empirical testing and provide evidence for potential or actual positive impacts; claims made must be authentic.
Replicable — able to scale and be widely adapted to similar conditions elsewhere.
Visit BFI website
View previous winning examples on BFI website