Session 4 starts off with Peter Diamandis speaking about private space exploration and the X Prize Competition. Some outcomes of the competition – it inspired 26 teams from seven nations, changed the paradigm that space was only for government, leveraged seed capital by 50-fold, brought about regulatory reform (he says that prizes are a great way to drive regulatory reform…interesting). The X Prize Foundation is now looking to expand to other areas like energy, environment, genetics, education and poverty and also launch a new venture capital model that will operate along with the prizes. Quotable quotes: “Unconstrained thinking leads to what most consider true breakthroughs.”
The concept of using prizes to fund innovation is definitely something that could be applicable in Africa, particularly when it comes to seeking applications/tools/etc. that are relevant to the African context. How about less donor aid to corrupt governments and more support in the form of competitions that attract bright innovators who want to make their ideas a reality and eventually commercialize them? I’m just saying.