Brooklyn, NY - January 6, 2017

The 2017 Fuller Challenge cycle dates have been announced. Applications will be accepted starting January 13th, 2017. A $100,000 prize will be awarded to support the development and implementation of one winning strategy. 2017 marks the 10th anniversary and first phase of this prestigious, internationally recognized prize program.

Conceived as a tool to discover, promote and educate a new generation in the comprehensive anticipatory, design science principles underlying Buckminster Fuller’s approach to problem-solving, the Fuller Challenge has extended Fuller’s provocation to designers “To make the world work for 100% of humanity [...]” In direct contrast to the demand for an upheaval of our political systems, Fuller called for a design revolution to address and solve our most complex and entrenched human-created problems.

The first Fuller Challenge prize was awarded to Dr. John Todd for a visionary plan to radically transform the environmental, economic, and social degradation caused by strip mining in the Appalachian region of the United States. Since that first award, the program has recognized profound and comprehensive solutions, addressing multiple interrelated factors embedded in the root causes of many of the world’s most pressing problems: From top-soil remediation to ocean habitat restoration to old growth forest conservation; from smart grid enabled urban transportation to new standards for the built environment to coastal storm water mitigation in densely populated regions; and from addressing the crises facing the fishing industry and their communities to revolutionizing the materials industry with mycelium!

Taken as a whole, the winners of the Fuller Challenge represent a comprehensive set of solutions to the major issues facing humanity,” remarked Elizabeth Thompson, Founding Director of the Fuller Challenge. “Each strategy represents a model that can be adapted to similar conditions in other parts of world. Each has achieved what others said was impossible—to put forth a solution that solves multiple problems simultaneously, while anticipating unintended future consequences.This is the kind of design thinking the world needs more of today. These projects need to be studied, used as educational models, and replicated elsewhere -- and the deeply committed people behind these innovations need the world’s encouragement and support. We are very proud to have been able to do our small part to focus global attention to these solutions -- and equally important, to the whole systems approach that makes them so significant and successful.

In addition to the winning strategies, over the last decade, the program has recognized 40 finalists and 140 semifinalists, and has brought additional funding, investment, mentorship, pro-bono services, etc -- to more than 200 projects through its Catalyst Program. Over 3,000 entrants from 140 countries have entered the program and have wrestled with the unique Fuller Challenge criteria. In celebration of this remarkable and world-changing network of socially responsible innovation, the Fuller Challenge will re-publish a significant number of entries that it has carefully vetted over the last decade in a searchable platform.

"Too often, we find ourselves working diligently to solve the problems of the day and seldom find ourselves taking the time to properly consider the larger picture and the ultimate destination of our work. This exercise has allowed us the opportunity to step back and really look at what we are trying to accomplish from a much higher perspective and with a broader world view of the goals we aspire to meet. The questions that BFI poses are vital and in the most significant sense - obligatory." (2016 Fuller Challenge entrant)

The program’s unique and open call for proposals, rigorous set of criteria, and renowned vetting process attract entrants from all over the world tackling a wide range of important issues. Recognized as socially responsible design’s highest award, participants hail from many different disciplines, address a wide range of systemic issues, and represent a broad cross-section of experience, age, gender and ethnic backgrounds.

Application window opens: Friday, January 13th, 2017
Entry Deadline: Friday, March 31st, 2017


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