Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman/CEO of Xprize Foundation kicked off the incentive2innovate conference at the United Nations with the promise that incentivized innovation and open innovation would be the focus for the two days of the conference.
Incentivized innovation is not just about winning the prize, but about driving innovation beyond the goal of the contest – beyond the attainment of that goal to create tangible benefits for society.
Dr. Diamandis talked about how the teams spent $100+ million competing to win the original $10 million Xprize, and about how over $1 billion has been invested in the private space industry (thanks in part to the $10 million Xprize). They then showed an Xprize video.
Matt Bross, CEO of BT Innovate took the stage and talked about how commercial success and corporate social responsibility are no longer in conflict. He then went on talk about how it is difficult for us as a people to grasp that the 10x improvements that are occurring now, and how these improvements actually increase the sphere of innovation possibilities. Matt Bross likes to call what is going on now an “Innovation Big Bang.”
BT invests $1 Billion in R&D and used to spend that internally, but now they are looking beyond the boundaries of their own payroll. At the same time, BT has added internal incentives of up to GBP 30,000 to unleash hundreds of million of dollars of cost reductions and product ideas from their employees.
Matt Bross then closed by talking about how when we look at the reality of most people in the world, it is far different from what most of us would think – 70% of the world’s population can’t read. If innovation can come from anywhere, how much innovation potential are we losing out on if 70% of the world can’t read?
NOTE: I’m not sure about these numbers – a quick Bing search showed figures of around 1 Billion adults (~26%), but the point is still valid no matter what.
What do you think?
Braden Kelley (@innovate on Twitter)