Sunday, March 02, 2008

Tom Vander Ark Podcast on X PRIZE Foundation

The Technology Alliance has a podcast speech of the X PRIZE Foundation's Tom Vander Ark from Oct 12, 2007. Here's more about it. It's a comprehensive and detailed talk that covers the range of X PRIZE Foundation history and prizes, including space prizes like the Ansari X PRIZE, the Google Lunar X PRIZE, and the X PRIZE Cup. He also discusses where prizes fit in the philanthropy landscape.

In part of the talk, he discussed some prizes that they hope to kick off in the future. Some sound like they're in advanced stages of formulation with sponsors, and others sound like they're in the process of deciding how they want to implement the prize before getting a sponsor. Some possibilities, which may have changed one way or the other in the time since the talk:

- a deep sea prize with possible sponsorship by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Now that's a type of prize that appeals to the same brain cells that like space prizes. It would be interesting to see a "NewDeepsea" movement like NewSpace ... and the 2 could someday combine in the oceans under some of our solar system's moons. In the short term, maybe some of the technology and business organization from such a prize would be applicable to the space community, or vice versa.

- 4 to 6 energy generation, storage, distribution, and efficiency prizes with a Bay Area energy-related organization potentially sponsoring $100M+ in prizes

- 2 concepts for education prizes were discussed. One was a software education tool, like a tool that could help students with math trouble learn the equivalent of 2 or more years of algebra over the summer. Another concept was a city-wide education competition, where the prize winner would be an outside educational improvement provider.

- The prize model may need to be modified to address international development prizes. Such a prize might need to contain an access to capital component and a market development component. One idea is for a village utility module to handle various needs like water and electricity, with a prize for a technology demonstration and another for deployment.

- In the medicine field, a possible cancer prize with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center was mentioned.

- I've mentioned this suggestion in other posts based on articles I read a while ago, so discussions must have been ongoing. A possible healthcare prize sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was brought up. This (and some of the other ideas) is also mentioned here.