Shut up and do something

Got a great idea to solve a pressing problem facing humanity? Then this contest sponsored by the Buckminster Fuller Institutewhich co-sponsored last year’s design science lab at UNCA—may just be what you’re looking for.

The New York City-based institute has announced a call for entries to “The Buckminster Fuller Challenge,” an international design science competition which seeks to confer a prize of $100,000 on a single winning solution.

Prize monies will be awarded in June 2008 to support the development and implementation of a solution that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems in the shortest possible time while enhancing the Earth’s ecological integrity.

Inspired by the life and work of visionary 20th century futurist and global thinker, R. Buckminster Fuller, who created the geodesic dome during his tenure at Black Mountain College, The Challenge seeks solutions that epitomize what Fuller called the “trimtab principle.” The trimtab — a nautical term for a tiny rudder on the trailing edge of the main rudder of very large vessels, causes an initial momentum allowing the main rudder to turn with less effort in pulling the whole ship around.

“The winning solution will demonstrate how a relatively small effort — in terms of energy and resources — precisely applied at the right time and place can put the ship onto a whole new course,” says a release from BFI. “We think there are solutions out there, in the hands of visionary individuals and teams of people, that will play a pivotal role in helping to turn things around.”

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge was announced to the public on July 12 in honor of of Buckminster Fuller’s 112th birthday. “We have had a tremendous response,” explains Angela Molenaar, Challenge co-director and BFI’s director of development.

“Participants in The Challenge can submit solutions from any domain of human endeavor, focused on the problem they feel most urgently in need of attention” Molenaar says. “Fuller’s pioneering example of ground breaking, highly original solutions to problems such as shelter and transportation serve as an inspiration for the approach we have taken in crafting the call for proposals. We have deliberately avoided limiting The Challenge to a particular professional field and topical focus, in an effort to capture Fuller’s comprehensive approach to problem-solving. You never know what form a brilliant idea might take, and we want to The Buckminster Fuller Challenge to attract the very best ideas out there.”

Submissions to The Buckminster Challenge will be accepted through midnight Oct. 30.

For program details and to submit an entry, click here.

— Hal L. Millard, staff writer


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