XPRIZE celebrates 25 years of innovation at annual Visioneering Summit of global philanthropists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders, focusing on the environment and healthy living
LOS ANGELES (October 8, 2019) — While celebrating its 25th anniversary, XPRIZE, the global leading platform for innovation and impact through incentive competitions, announced five winning concepts during Visioneering 2019, the foundation’s annual gathering to design and evaluate future competitions.
During Visioneering, over 50 XPRIZE designs were proposed, with five XPRIZE concepts winning in the categories of food and agriculture, human health and longevity sponsored by Anthem, waste and circular economy sponsored by Intel, and housing and infrastructure. In the finals, the crowd voted the Charter Communities concept in the housing and infrastructure category as the top winner. The Charter Communities XPRIZE team was led by visionary artist, producer, songwriter, philanthropist and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams and supported by the Andrew Nikou Foundation and philanthropists like John-Paul Dejoria. The XPRIZE concept proposed a competition to create transformational public housing alternatives that will provide a self-sustaining life beyond subsidized housing. This latest prize idea adds to the legacy of XPRIZE, which has launched 17 competitions and offered more than $150M in prize funds since its inception 25 years ago.
During Visioneering, over $15M was pledged by philanthropists at the event to support XPRIZE and prize development.
In addition to Pharrell’s Charter Communities XPRIZE, the following four prize concepts captured the attendees’ votes:
- Back to Earth: A highly scalable and economically feasible system that, through regenerative agriculture, sequesters the maximum amount of carbon from the atmosphere in a cost-effective manner to produce healthy food that is economically accessible.
- Toxin Detection: Early detection of environmental toxins to transform healthcare and prevent diseases from occurring in the first place.
- The Future of Food Packaging: An eco-friendly alternative thin-film plastic that biodegrades and is food safe.
- The Race to a Trillion Trees: A system to unlock massive, rapid deployment of new trees, appropriate to local ecosystems, at a cost of no more than 10 cents per tree.
“Visioneering is where our community of benefactors gather with scientific experts and determine where breakthroughs are needed,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, XPRIZE Founder and Executive Chairman. “This year we decided to focus on the environment because of the urgency needed for innovation and action. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, I’m proud of the fact that we have evolved from an initial focus on space, to a broad vision of driving breakthroughs in fields ranging from food, water and energy, to education, health and the environment. Visioneering continues to be the place to gather the brightest minds and create, support, and inspire world-changing ideas.”
In addition to celebrating the 25th anniversary of XPRIZE, this year’s Visioneering event took place on the 15th anniversary of the $10M Ansari XPRIZE being won by Burt Rutan and Paul Allen.
“On October 4, 2004, 15 years ago, we witnessed the SpaceShipOne piloted by Brian Binnie rocket beyond Earth's atmosphere into space for the second time in five days, thereby winning the $10M Ansari XPRIZE,” said Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE. “With new policies and awareness resulting from this competition, a new multi-billion-dollar age of commercial space industry started. This new industry is inspiring a spirit of exploration and innovation that will benefit humanity. Today, we celebrate the Charter Communities XPRIZE team, and all the teams who have been a part of XPRIZE over the years, who have lent their intellectual capital and entrepreneurial spirit to make a difference and also to all our sponsors, donors and partners whose support make these world-changing competitions possible.”
“Public housing is considered ‘the hood,’ but people living in these places aren’t treated like neighbors. We need something different; we need something better. I am the product of the public housing system and access to a safe place to live is a basic human right and an essential element of productivity,” said Pharrell Williams, who led the Charter Communities team. “Now more than ever we need an XPRIZE for humanity. I’m honored to work alongside the Andrew Nikou Foundation and the brilliant minds at XPRIZE to turn our design into a reality and give those who face affordable housing challenges the opportunity to pursue their goals and live life to its fullest potential. We believe this idea will echo and resonate with people across the world, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of this journey with XPRIZE.”
This year, Visioneering was held at Paramount Studios and hosted approximately 500 attendees including well-known world leaders, innovators, philanthropists and artists who led impactful discussions on global environmental issues. Breakout sessions were created to stir ideas and prize concepts around food and agriculture, housing and infrastructure, human health and longevity, and waste and circular economy. Visioneering 2019 also hosted the Young Innovators Program – a S.T.E.A.M. driven three-day camp that runs in tandem with the summit and targets young adults, teens, and children (ages 8-17).
Attendees had the opportunity to hear from past XPRIZE winning teams as well as speakers such as Harrison Ford, Deepak Chopra, Gwynne Shotwell, Morris Kahn, among others. The Skysource / Skywater Alliance team based in Venice Beach, California who was announced last year at Visioneering as the grand prize winner of the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE, also supplied the water for the entire Visioneering 2019 event.
For more information on Visioneering, please visit xprize.org/visioneering.
Photo Caption: Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE, Jules Ho, Executive Director of Andrew Nikou Foundation, Jamee Natella, Founder of Blueyed Pictures, Pharrell Williams, Founder of i am OTHER, Peter Diamandis, XPRIZE Founder and Executive Chairman