Buckminster Fuller Institute

2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland and the Yasmin list.

SEARCH FOR COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN SOLUTIONS TO HUMANITY’S CRITICAL PROBLEMS LAUNCHED!

February 17, 2014, New York City – The Buckminster Fuller Institute formally announced the Call for Proposals to the 2014 Fuller Challenge. Recognized as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Challenge invites activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, students and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

Entries will be accepted until April 11, 2014.

WINNING CRITERIA: IMPACTING 100%

Buckminster Fuller called for a design revolution to “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”

Answering this call is what the Fuller Challenge is all about.

Winning entries for the last six years have applied a rare combination of pragmatic, visionary, comprehensive and anticipatory thinking to tackling issues as broad as urban mobility, coastal restoration and innovation in biomaterials packaging. BFI has created an application process for entry to the Fuller Challenge in which global changemakers grapple deeply with a unique set of criteria. Internationally renowned jurors and reviewers look for whole systems strategies that integrate effectively with key social, environmental and economic factors impacting each design solution.

GROWING BENEFITS TO ENTRY

“The Challenge program has defined an emerging field of practice – the whole systems approach to understanding and solving the interrelated crises facing us. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges,” said Elizabeth Thompson, Executive Director of The Buckminster Fuller Institute. “We are committed to further supporting this emergent field through our Catalyst Program, which provides much needed additional support to select initiatives: mentoring, pro-bono legal services, consideration for fiscal sponsorship, international press coverage, special invitations to present at conferences and exhibitions, and more! We partnered with Interface in 2013 to launch this program, and we could not be more gratified that we are able to continue its development in 2014.”

FORWARD ON THE CALL!

Are you or someone you know working on a holistic solution to make the world work for 100%? Read below for more information on what we are looking for, download the full Call for Proposals, and APPLY!

Deadline for entries is Friday, April 11, 2014, at 5pm EST.

THE INSPIRATION

Buckminster Fuller led a prolific life of research, invention, writing and teaching. He developed a comprehensive systems approach to understanding complex global problems. By rigorously adhering to his unique set of “design science” principles, Fuller’s work embodies a deeply attuned ecological aesthetic. Fuller conceived and prototyped new strategies intended to enable all of humanity to live lives characterized by freedom, comfort and dignity without negatively impacting the earth’s ecosystems or regenerative ability. He emphasized that the technology and know-how already exist to successfully surmount our global challenges and advocated “doing more with less” by increasing the overall performance of every resource invested in a system.

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR

Winning the Fuller Challenge requires more than a stand-alone idea or innovation that focuses on one aspect of a system failure. BFI looks for holistic strategies that demonstrate a clear grasp of the big-picture dynamics influencing your intervention. If a proposal emphasizes a new design, material, process, service, tool or technology, it is essential that it be part of an integrated strategy that deals effectively with key social, environmental and economic factors.

BFI seeks initiatives that tackle urgent needs at a range of scales: from macro-strategies that have the potential for widespread, tangible impacts, to local, community-based initiatives with global relevance and replicability. A highly competent project team with the capacity and commitment to move the solution forward for transformative impact is essential.

Entries must meet the following criteria:

  • Visionary – put forth an original idea or synthesize existing ideas into a new strategy that creatively addresses a critical need
  • Comprehensive – apply a “whole-systems” approach to the design and implementation process; aim to address multiple goals, requirements and conditions in a holistic way
  • Anticipatory – factor in critical future trends and needs as well as the projected impacts of implementation in the short and long term
  • Ecologically Responsible – reflect nature’s underlying principles while enhancing the ability for natural systems to regenerate
  • Feasible – rely on current technology, existing resources and a solid team capable of implementing the project
  • Verifiable – able to withstand rigorous testing and make authentic claims
  • Replicable – able to be adapted to similar conditions elsewhere

Winning initiatives integrate these criteria into powerful design solutions that have the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.

To receive updates on the 2014 Fuller Challenge, please contact challenge@bfi.org

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It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Buckminster Fuller: the crucial difference between the main engine and a starter motor

US Pavilion, Montreal Expo 67, 1967

“Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are only the experiment.”

I’m never entirely sure what that quotation really  means, but R. Buckminster Fuller’s  grand turn of phrase was only one part of his genius, mixing the mystically visionary with the visonarily practical. This week sees the largest celebration of his work in 35 years open at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Starting With The Universe explores that mixture of utopianism and engagement.

Another quote from Bucky, this time from Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, which is published online by the Buckminster Fuller Institute here. Bear in mind this was written around 46 years ago:

The fossil fuel deposits of our Spaceship Earth correspond to our automobile’s storage battery which must be conserved to turn over our main engine’s self-starter. Thereafter, our “main engine,” the life regenerating processes, must operate exclusively on our vast daily energy income from the powers of wind, tide, water, and the direct Sun radiation energy. The fossil-fuel savings account has been put aboard Spaceship Earth for the exclusive function of getting the new machinery built with which to support life and humanity at ever more effective standards of vital physical energy and reinspiring metaphysical sustenance to be sustained exclusively on our Sun radiation’s and Moon pull gravity’s tidal, wind, and rainfall generated pulsating and therefore harnessable energies. The daily income energies are excessively adequate for the operation of our main industrial engines and their automated productions. The energy expended in one minute of a tropical hurricane equals the combined energy of all the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. nuclear weapons. Only by understanding this scheme may we continue for all time ahead to enjoy and explore universe as we progressively harness evermore of the celestially generated tidal and storm generated wind, water, and electrical power concentrations. We cannot afford to expend our fossil fuels faster than we are “recharging our battery,” which means precisely the rate at which the fossil fuels are being continually deposited within Earth’s spherical crust.

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