Winning the Buckminster Fuller Challenge requires more than inserting a great stand-alone innovation into a complex 'problem space'. We are looking for holistic strategies that demonstrate a clear grasp of 'the big picture', focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. If for example, your solution emphasizes a new design, material, process, service, tool, technology, or any combination, it is essential that it be part of an integrated strategy that incorporates key social, environmental, and economic factors.
We are seeking visions that put forth what Fuller called a preferred state model – one that aims to design a set of initial conditions from inception in order to create over time, the most desirable, sustainable outcome.
We are seeking solutions that embody what Fuller referred to as the trimtab principle – demonstrating that a relatively small initiative inserted into a system at the right time and place can achieve maximum leverage for advantageous change.
Entries can span the spectrum of scale - from macro-strategies restoring and maintaining ecosystems necessary for life on earth to thrive, to community-based ventures that have global relevance. Entries can also span the spectrum of development stage - from well-formulated concept, to proof-of-concept, to proven track record. Competence and commitment of the team behind the idea is more important.
Entries must also meet the following criteria:
Visionary – put forth an original idea that creatively addresses a critical need or synthesizes existing ideas into a new strategy.
Comprehensive — apply a 'whole-systems' approach to all facets of the design and implementation process; aim to simultaneously address the root cause and multiple goals, requirements, conditions and factors.
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 Earth’s life-support systems.
Feasible — rely on current technology and existing resources backed by a solid team capable of implementing the project.
Verifiable — able to withstand rigorous empirical testing and makes authentic claims.
Replicable — able to be adapted to similar conditions elsewhere.
The winning strategy will integrate all these criteria into a powerful catalyst having the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.
Download a PDF of the full 2013 Call for Proposals.
We have put together a set of resource documents and videos, selected specifically to enrich the understanding of Design Science, sustainability, leverage points, etc – all of which speak directly to The Buckminster Fuller Challenge entry criteria and helped the Buckminster Fuller Institute form the criteria and principles. We hope you enjoy the research. Do some further reading here.
BFI and Jury Statements