BY PETER DIAMANDIS
The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself !
I founded the XPRIZE Foundation back in 1994 ,
27 years ago (!!) based on that premise , as an innovation engine whose mission is to “ inspire and guide entrepreneurs to solve grand challenges .”
XPRIZE empowers entrepreneurs and innovators and paints a clear and detailed vision of an abundant future across domains . It gives the world hope .
In this article , I want to talk about XPRIZE : what it is , how it started , how it works , and what we ’ re doing to create a hopeful , compelling , and abundant future for all of humanity .
Let ’ s dive in … XPRIZE ’ S ORIGIN STORY
I first had the idea of XPRIZE after reading Charles Lindbergh ’ s book The Spirit of St . Louis given to me by my dear friend Gregg Maryniak in 1994 . The XPRIZE Foundation was started a few months later with the vision of creating an incentive prize to encourage would-be spaceship designers to build rockets for the rest of us .
And in May of 1996 , even though I didn ’ t have any prize money , we announced the $ 10M XPRIZE for Spaceflight under the Gateway Arch in St . Louis .
I thought for sure that someone would fund the $ 10M purse . After all , you wouldn ’ t have to pay the prize money until after a team successfully flew a passengercarrying rocket to 100 km altitude , twice in two weeks .
But it wasn ’ t easy by any means .
Between 1996 and 2002 I must have pitched over 150 philanthropists and sponsors and was told NO — over and over and over again . Everyone thought the prize was too difficult and they were concerned that people would lose their lives .
Finally , I met the Ansari family who funded the purse ( we ultimately named it the $ 10M Ansari XPRIZE in their honor ), and a few years later on October 4 , 2004 the first XPRIZE was won .
WHAT XPRIZE BELIEVES And today , as the XPRIZE Foundation is hitting its stride 27 years after it was founded , we have launched over $ 250M worth of XPRIZEs .
FOLLOWING ARE OUR 5 CORE BELIEFS :
( 1 ) We believe in the power of competition . It ’ s part of humanity ’ s DNA to compete . We do our best competing in sports , in business … why shouldn ’ t we also tap into that indomitable spirit of competition to bring about breakthroughs and solutions to solve the world ’ s biggest challenges ?
( 2 ) We believe that you get what you incentivize , and there are many innovative ways to solve a problem . Rather than tell entrepreneurs HOW to solve a problem , instead define a finishing line , and allow hundreds of innovators to try thousands of ideas .
( 3 ) We believe that challenges must be audacious , but achievable , tied to objective , measurable goals . And understandable by all .
( 4 ) We believe that solutions can come from anyone , anywhere and that some of the greatest minds of our time remain untapped , ready to be engaged by a world