Monday, June 7, 2010

Buckminster Fuller Challenge Inspires Designers

One of the main activities of the Buckminster Fuller Institute is to coordinate the annual Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Each year a jury awards a $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Buckminster Fuller's prolific life of exploration, discovery, invention and teaching was driven by his intention “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone.”

Fuller coupled this intention with a pioneering approach aimed at solving complex problems. This approach, which he called “comprehensive anticipatory design science”, combined an emphasis on individual initiative and integrity with whole systems thinking, scientific rigor and faithful reliance on nature's underlying principles. The designs he is best known for (the geodesic dome, the Dymaxion house, car, and map, and the global electric grid) were part of a visionary strategy to redesign the inter-related systems of shelter, transportation and energy.

After decades of tracking world resources, innovations in science and technology, and human needs, Fuller asserted that options exist to successfully surmount the crises of unprecedented scope and complexity facing all humanity – he issued an urgent call for a design science revolution to make the world work for all.

Entries must be:
Comprehensive — applies a whole systems approach to all facets of the design and development process; aims to simultaneously address multiple goals, requirements, conditions and issues;
Anticipatory — factoring in critical future trends and needs as well as projected impacts of implementation in the short and long term;
Ecologically responsible — reflecting nature's underlying principles while enhancing the Earth’s life-support systems;
Feasible — relying on current know-how, technology and existing resources;
Verifiable — able to withstand rigorous empirical testing;
Replicable — able to scale and adapt to a broad range of conditions.

The winning strategy should integrate all these criteria into a powerful catalyst having the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.

Click on the heading above to learn more about the Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

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