LUCRATIVE INSPIRATION

The federal government and various private groups have begun offering prize money for significant new innovations.  Some of these have already achieved success and many are still waiting for a winner.  The hope is more startups and established businesses might be inspired to pursue these scientific or technological breakthroughs.

Want to take a shot at the prizes?  Here are several past and present offers:

From People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the PETA Prize—Come up with an in vitro way to grow chicken meat, without killing chickens or the taste.  Prize: $1 million.

From NASA, CAFÉ Foundation, and Google, the Green Flight Challenge—All you must do is build an aircraft that will average 200 miles per gallon per passenger.  Prize: $1.35 million.  (Not accepting new entries; award granted in 2011.)

From NASA and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Sample Return Robot Challenge—Design and build a robot capable of retrieving geological samples in rough terrain.  Prize: $1.5 million.

From the Department of Defense, the DARPA Urban Challenge—Build and use a fully automatic driving vehicle in a race.  Prize: $2 million.  (Not accepting new entries; award granted in 2007.)

From the Methuselah Foundation, the New Organ Prize—You have until 2020 to develop a regenerative medicine process that will grow a new organ, and then transplant that organ into a patient where it will function successfully for at least two years.  Prize: $10 million.

From Al Gore and Richard Branson, the Virgin Earth Challenge—Build an eco-friendly system that removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and operates correctly for at least 10 years.  Prize: $25 million.

Many different motivations exist for people and companies pursuing challenges.  Perhaps some of these fat carrots will bring even fatter results.





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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger.

I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.


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