Peter Diamandis on Prize Economy

Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, has an important post on prizes and philanthropy over at Huffington Post. Read it (and the comments) here.

The comments are especially worth reading. Here's a sampling of ideas they raise:

  • From an employment self-interest standpoint, disease charities have no incentive to actually cure the diseases they support;
  • Prizes should be considered against other options for innovation - e.g. state support, corporate R & D, patent offices, Creative Commons, etc.;
  • Various ways to use prizes in education;
  • The costs and potential returns of prizes
(Comments are strictly the opinion of the commentator. Just because I pull them out here I do not necessarily agree or disagree with them. I just think they're worth knowing about.)

1 comment:

Jack said...

What if there were a "long tail" approach to prize awards? Set up a market where people can donate money toward prizes – small contributions will aggregate quickly given a compelling enough challenge. If you think there ought to be a lasting yet humane solution to homelessness in your local community, contribute toward a prize set up for that purpose. Or if you think there ought to be a better solution for addressing campaign finance reform, contribute toward that (and not the crooked candidates!). There would need to be some mechanism for determining what issues are ripe for prize development (and some management structure for administering this) but this could be a way of having people "vote" on what problems are most in need of solutions. Hey, if people are sending unsolicited gifts to the Gates Foundation (forty-five donations totaling $108,000 according to a recent AP story), there is clearly a demand for ways to contribute toward hard-to-solve societal problems --- without having to figure out the whos, hows and what ifs...