XPRIZE Visioneers 2017

Are you an industry disruptor? A social advocate? A garage tinkerer? Design an XPRIZE competition and drive a world-changing breakthrough.

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Reward | Exposure | Recognition

This challenge is closed




Who are the XPRIZE® Visioneers?

XPRIZE is an innovation engine, a facilitator of exponential change, a catalyst for the benefit of humanity. Our incentivized prize competitions have launched the new space industry, resulted in an exponential increase in efficiencies to clean up devastating oil spills, and helped open up a new generation of super fuel-efficient vehicles. The XPRIZE Visioneers challenge invites YOU to see if you have what it takes to become a Visioneer, and delve into the Grand Challenges that face our world.

The Visioneers of 2017 will form teams to tackle different Grand Challenges. Their objective? Help the world's top innovators deliver some of the most "impossible" breakthroughs. It's a tough job, indeed, but the rewards are enormous. Visioneers will be the driving force behind the next generation of prizes to help push humanity forward. And you were saying you wanted to do something meaningful? This is it.


Signs You Might Be Visioneer Material

  • You're compelled to make the world a better place. Duh.
  • You’re audacious -- some might call you obsessed -- with finding your path to making real impact.
  • You're an information junkie: constantly consuming the latest news and technology to help bring about the breakthroughs our world needs.
  • You connect the dots: not satisfied with simply comprehending the problem, you tend to see problems as unfilled opportunities. Always stumbling upon the subtle links between seemingly disparate subjects or situations, you can't resist dreaming up potential solutions.


The Challenge

We are seeking industry disruptors, social advocates, tinkerers, innovators and empathetic leaders who are excited to get their hands dirty in a problem, participate in deep research, talk to experts and inventors, and then talk to them again. You must be eager to debate, learn, analyze, create, and work closely with other team members. You understand how to set audacious goals and possess the vision of a breakthrough for a currently unsolved problem.

Imagine being partnered with a team and tools to lend your vision and skills to the art of designing an XPRIZE competition -- that's exactly what we're doing for next class of Visioneers.



You must be authorized to work in the United States or Canada to compete in this challenge.

Not able to compete in the XPRIZE Visioneers US Summit? Sign up here to be notified of international opportunities if and when they arise.




XPRIZE® competitions start with Grand Challenges – national or global crises, market failures, and opportunities where solutions are thought to be either out of reach or just plain impossible. This year, we want you to be part of the Visioneers process, where you will collaborate with other Visioneers to develop prize competitions and impact proposals around Grand Challenges facing our world.

If you are selected as a Visioneer:

First, you will start with a boot camp, along with your fellow Visioneers, to learn more about XPRIZE, how we approach Grand Challenges, and the fundamentals of designing for impact from some of the foremost experts in the world. Over six months, with the help of XPRIZE, your team will design an impact proposal for a prize competition in an area where innovation breakthroughs would result in positive change.

The opportunity for you:

  • Team up with other bold thinkers and a sponsoring company to attack a Grand Challenge that you are all passionate about
  • Receive support from a team of XPRIZE experts to craft an impact proposal to address that Grand Challenge
  • Promote awareness of your passion and prize design efforts through XPRIZE marketing channels
  • Present your impact proposal at the 2017 XPRIZE Visioneers Summit in October 2017.


Past attendees of this Summit have included members of the XPRIZE Vision Circle, the XPRIZE Innovation Board, and members of XPRIZE’s Spirit of Innovation.


So, what exactly are you doing as an XPRIZE Visioneer? The details, in a nutshell:

From now until March 15, 2017

Apply to be an XPRIZE Visioneer!

April 3-7, 2017

All Visioneers will convene in Los Angeles, CA with XPRIZE staff and mentors to kick off the Visioneers process and participate in a boot camp to learn more about XPRIZE and the fundamentals of designing for impact.

April-September, 2017

Visioneers will collaborate in teams to develop their impact proposals. Visioneers will work full-time together as a team, with mentorship from XPRIZE experts.

August 2017

Prepare your pitch for the Summit! You will collaborate with your team to tell the story of your impact proposal and the breakthroughs you anticipate it will achieve. You’ll head to Los Angeles, CA to do a dry run of your pitch in mid-late August and receive feedback and mentorship from thought leaders in the XPRIZE ecosystem.

September 2017

Polish your pitch! Now is the time to put the finishing touches on your pitch for the Visioneers Summit. You’ll convene in mid to late September for final Summit preparations.

October 5-8, 2017

It’s time for all Visioneers to come together to present at the 2017 XPRIZE Visioneers Summit! You will meet some of the world’s foremost thought leaders, work with them to integrate their feedback and mentorship, and pitch your impact proposal!


We will partner you with a team of bold thinkers, a company sponsor, and a Grand Challenge area, and you will design an impact proposal to address this Grand Challenge. As an XPRIZE Visioneer, your responsibilities will include:

  • Leading the team’s research efforts, including conducting interviews at the beginning of the process to inform your proposal design
  • Connecting to industry experts and other social entrepreneurs
  • Bringing subject matter expertise to the impact proposal design
  • Ensuring that XPRIZE design criteria are met
  • Collaborating with XPRIZE experts
  • Using network connections to enhance your proposal’s intended impact
  • Setting up and driving team meetings
  • Monitoring progress to milestones
  • Creating quality deliverables for XPRIZE
  • Owning overall team development and performance


How your submission will stand out:

When it comes to XPRIZE, you could pin successful submissions down to two main ingredients: substance and sizzle. Think you’ve got one? Both? Whoa.

Substance: Substance, in essence, is being the Neo of your field. You can see exactly what needs to be done, and who to get involved to make sure your team hits the ground running. OK, so your friends probably don’t call you “The One” (although, we wouldn’t be all that surprised) but that doesn’t mean you’re not uniquely positioned, driven, and already on your way to ask precisely the right questions to get this problem from zero to breakthrough.

Sizzle: It’s not just a good idea—it’s an XPRIZE competition. Sizzle is the undeniable sweet spot where your impact proposal has instant, near-universal resonance. Since we’re certainly cooking some of the more obvious Grand Challenges, your sizzle needs to be more than just a flash in the pan to really stick.

We are looking for Visioneers who are excited to get their hands dirty in a problem, participate in deep research, talk to experts, and then talk to them again. They are eager to debate, learn, analyze, create, and work closely with other team members. Visioneers understand how to set audacious goals, they aren't afraid to fail fast, and they see possibilities for solving impossible problems.


What you will win:

Each XPRIZE Visioneer will receive competitive compensation based on their level of participation on their Visioneers team (between $20,000 to $50,0000 USD for six months). All reasonable expenses to the Visioneers Bootcamp, Dry Run and Polish events, and the XPRIZE Visioneers Summit will be covered by XPRIZE.

Beyond the monetary award, the greatest value you will receive is your inside view of creating an XPRIZE alongside some of the best impact design experts in the world. Your participation in the XPRIZE Visioneers Summit will give you access to some of the greatest inventors, innovators, and social entrepreneurs in the world. Past attendees have included members of the XPRIZE Vision Circle, the XPRIZE Innovation Board, and members of XPRIZE's Spirit of Innovation.

That’s an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up.


Your submission:

There are several questions in the submission, and some will take longer than others to complete, so please preview the form immediately. Spend time composing your answers offline and then login to complete your submission. Please remember to create an offline copy; we cannot be responsible for any text that is lost.

Your answers to the questions marked “public” will be visible on the challenge page as soon as you click “Submit Final Entry.” All other answers are only visible to the judging panel.


Be concise

Quality over quantity. We're looking for as much information about you as possible, but we purposely don't give you a lot of space. We’re looking at what you say just as much as how you say it. Be mindful of our character limits, which include spaces.

Your background

We want to learn about your entire life journey -- what you have done, what you are working on, and what impact do you want to create for the world? What makes you a rebel? A troublemaker? A creative thinker? Tell us what makes you remarkable…. don’t be afraid to brag!

Be audacious

Share your proudest accomplishments, your weirdest experiments, and what makes you exceptional. But don't be afraid to tell us about your face plant mistakes, the prototypes that would never be, and businesses that didn't make it. We are selecting from a talented pool of innovators from all over the world, so we encourage you to be brave and stand out from the crowd. Tell us about your most impressive work and your biggest failures -- from innovations (or those that never came to be), to groundbreaking research or viral activism, to your greatest impact on your community, your workplace, your school, or the world.

Websites, photos, articles, etc.

We want to see links of your work and your accomplishments -- they will help us to get to know you better. Any video submissions must first be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or another video sharing site. Double-check that all your links are working and that they are set to Public.

Uploaded Documents

Prize Concept: Open the Prize Concept template. Click on "File," then "Download as." Download the document, complete it, and upload it as a .pdf file in your submission form. To complete the document in Google Sheets first, click on "File," then "Make a Copy." Work in this copy and then download it as a .pdf file to attach it to your submission.

Submit early.  Submissions will be evaluated and announced on a rolling basis. We encourage you to complete your submission as soon as possible.



Who can participate:

The challenge is open to all individuals, age 18 or older. Innovators must have unlimited work authorization in the United States or Canada for the entirety of 2017 but may originate from any country.

Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communications will be in English.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Registration and Submissions:

All innovators must be registered prior to submitting an entry. Final submissions must be received on or before March 15, 2017 at 11:59pm EDT. No late submissions will be accepted.

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website. All document uploads must be in PDF format (2 MB maximum). Paper size must be 8.5 by 11 inches. Minimum margins are one inch. Font must be minimum 12 pt., single-spaced (text in tables and figures may be as small as 9 pt.).

Any video submissions must first be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or other video sharing site. Double-check that all of your links are working and that they are set to Public.

All questions on the submission form marked “public” will be visible on the challenge page immediately upon submission. All other questions are only visible to the judging panel.

Selection of Winners:

Winners will be selected and informed of their status on a rolling basis. Winners will be placed on teams with other Visioneers.


Winners will be judged by the XPRIZE team, including people with expertise in Grand Challenges, impact design, prize operations, as well as the team leading the Visioneers process.

Visioneers Training and Participation:

By submitting an application to this challenge, you are offering your commitment to participate in:

  1. The XPRIZE Visioneers Kickoff and Bootcamp Training (April 3-7, Los Angeles, California)
  2. Impact Design (full-time as part of a virtual team from April-October; see FAQ for more information)
  3. Dry Run (mid to late August, Los Angeles, California)
  4. Polish (mid to late September, Los Angeles, California)
  5. The XPRIZE Visioneers Summit (October 5-8, Los Angeles, California)


Note: these are mandatory meetings and are disqualifiers if you are unavailable to attend.


All Visioneers will be required to enter into an agreement with XPRIZE and will be subject to all of its rules and requirements.

Additional Information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or the result of sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the challenge.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.


Questions? Please post in the challenge forum or reach out to and we'll get back to you!



The XPRIZE Foundation is the global leader in incentivized prize competitions to focus top innovators on solving the world's biggest problems for the benefit of humanity.

  • We believe in the power of competition. That it’s part of our DNA. Of humanity itself. That tapping into that indomitable spirit of competition brings about breakthroughs and solutions that once seemed unimaginable. Impossible.
  • We believe that you get what you incentivize. And that without a target, you will miss it every time. Rather than throw money at a problem, we incentivize the solution and challenge the world to solve it.
  • We believe that challenges must be audacious, but achievable, tied to objective, measurable goals. And understandable by all.
  • We believe that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere and that some of the greatest minds of our time remain untapped, ready to be engaged by a world that is in desperate need of help. Solutions. Change. And radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.


Challenge guidelines are subject to change. Registered competitors will receive notification when changes are made, however, we highly encourage you to visit the challenge site often to review updates.



Challenge Updates

The Four New Visioneers You Need to Know About

March 22, 2017, 7:01 a.m. PDT by Maureen Murtha

For the second year in a row, XPRIZE teamed up with HeroX to identify the next Visioneers. As the selection process comes to an end, we present you a group of worldly-minded people from a wide range of backgrounds that share one thing in common: a determination to identify the Grand Challenges facing our world and shape the next full-blown XPRIZE.  

1. Christopher Bush

I'm the Poop Soup guy!!


2. Cristina Gallegos

Meaningful Global Wealth

3. Edward J. Silva

Identify Every Acre on Earth

4. Rachel Taylor
Monitoring Mobile Payments

Still looking for a way to lend your brilliance to a worthy project? The XPRIZE crowdsourcing page on HeroX holds a wealth of other opportunities! Click below to see what it’s all about.


Three more Visioneers Announced! Less than three hours left to apply!

March 15, 2017, 5:28 p.m. PDT by Maureen Murtha

Another Set of Visioneers Appear!

Congratulations to the following individuals for being real stand-out applicants. They're now the newest additions to the Visioneers class of '17 (and that's a pretty cool title to have, if we do say so ourselves.)

And the latest winners are...

The quality of submissions continues to be outstanding, so huge props to all of them for making the cut. 
Don't see your name on that very short list? It's still not over! Applicants will continue to be reviewed following tonight's deadline at 11:59pm EDT. If you haven't already, start your submission now to ensure you have time to answer all of the questions. Good luck to all, and thanks for being such an incredible group of people! 

Only 13 Hours Left to Become a 2017 Visioneer

March 15, 2017, 7:59 a.m. PDT by Maureen Murtha

It's Wednesday, March 15th! You know what that means?

Today is the last day to apply for the XPRIZE Visioneers 2017 - United States Summit.  

More specifically, 11:59 p.m. EDT today is the cutoff time for completing your entry. Don't put it off! The earlier you complete your submission, the better. A last-minute surge of submissions can create slow upload times and more importantly, lots of frustration for you. Our advice to you is simply: avoid the rush, get it in before the day ends, and enjoy your evening.

Sounds nice, right?

We look forward to announcing the next Visioneers in the near future, so stay tuned for more updates! 

Don't be like Procrastination Cat

March 13, 2017, 3:47 p.m. PDT by Maureen Murtha

^Don't be like that.

Don't wait until the last minute to submit! 
You know, it's the early bird that gets the worm -- not the last-minute bird! 

...Was that too many animal metaphors? Yeah, you're probably right.

Truth is, the XPRIZE Visioneers train is getting ready to leave the station, everyone.  Did you know that only two days remain until the deadline to apply to be a 2017 Visioneer? If you need some inspiration, check out this HeroX blog post about the power of crowdsourcing. 

Click the button below to get busy on your application! 



6 Important Lessons From The Most Successful Crowdfunding Campaign Ever

March 9, 2017, 9 a.m. PST by Maureen Murtha

Not every crowdsourcing project is a Grand Challenge of global proportions. In fact, many of the best examples of harnessing the crowd were cut-and-dry, for-profit ventures. That being said, there still very valuable lessons embedded in these experiments, ones that can be applied in various crowdsourcing contexts.

With that, here's the story of one particularly viable crowdsourcing campaign, and a deep dive into what the campaign creators took away from it.

Enter the Pebble

In 2012, Pebble Watch became the most successful Kickstarter campaign up until that time. Founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky raised $10,266,845 from over 68,000 backers, in just 34 days. His goal? A measly $500,000.

That was pretty incredible, but Pebble was just getting started. In 2015, they blew their previous record away, raising $20,338,986 – 4,067 percent of their $500,000 goal. If that doesn't sound amazing, they raised their first $1 million in less than an hour!

That's even more than the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE, which resulted in a record-breaking spaceflight and the creation of the modern commercial space industry.

So, after failing to find funding from venture capitalists, how did Migicovsky and Pebble raise all that money – twice? Let's take a look at the fundamentals of a successful crowdfunded campaign, diving into what makes a contest attractive and exciting to creative individuals. You can learn from them to help inform your concept for the XPRIZE Visioneers 2017 Challenge!

Migicovsky spoke to Peter Diamandis, co-founder of the XPRIZE and HeroX, about the keys to an incredible Kickstarter campaign. Take these ideas to heart, because they may seem simple, but they aren't quite as easy to implement as you might think. They're talking about Kickstarter, a platform where many different people contribute money to fund a project, but you can use these principles to set up your own incentive challenge.

They constitute the foundations of crowdfunding, and you can use them to launch your idea into the stratosphere (or beyond).

1. Make Something People Really Want

Market testing separates the experienced innovator from the brash newbie. If you can't run a proper test to understand what people want, you won't be able to make accurate predictions about what might be successful.

“Prior to launching Pebble on Kickstarter, we had sold about $200,000 worth of the predecessor watch called InPulse,” Migicovsky said. “We talked to these customers, got their detailed feedback, learned what was missing, what features they wish they had.”

They got feedback from over 1,500 customers, and when it came time to design the Pebble watch, they had a clear picture of what the public wanted - and what they didn't want.

2. Pick 3 Simple “Use Cases” That You Can Easily Communicate

The best ideas can be useless if you can't communicate them to other people.  It can be especially difficult when you're dealing with a very new idea or product, and one that challenges preconceptions.

If you want your idea to be popularly accepted, you need to show how all sorts of people can benefit from it.

“We boiled it down to three fundamental things, 'use cases' that anyone could understand,” Migicovsky said. “First, using it for running and cycling; second, using Pebble around the house for music and email; and third, using it as a platform for developers to write their own unique apps for Pebble Watch. Pebble can clearly do much more, but we kept it simple, so it was easy to understand.”

The more novel your idea, the more important it is to come up with simple, effective ways to explain it. Describe the effect it will have on the daily lives of the typical user or benefactor, and move on from there.

3. Pre-Test Your Idea With Friends and Family

The more constructive feedback you can get before you launch a product or idea, the better. Friends and family constitute a free, generally willing audience who will hopefully offer their honest opinions.

“We pre-tested our video, we made a demo page, we wrote a survey with multiple-choice questions and sent it to everyone in our families, all of our friends, we got their feedback before we launched on Kickstarter. More than 100 people had seen the page and given us their feedback. We tweaked the video and the page based on this feedback.”

This kind of approach can help you correct mistakes before you make them.

4. Wag the Long Tail – Get The Word Out

No matter where you're running a crowdfunded project or contest – perhaps here on HeroX? - it pays literally, to get the word out as much as possible. That means utilizing as many platforms as you can, including social media, blogs, news outlets, technology and other themed conferences or expos, etc. Don't forget about doing interviews!

Only 25% of the backers of the first Pebble Kickstarter campaign landed on the project via the Kickstarter website directly. The rest came from a very wide variety of sources.

“After the Kickstarter homepage, the next top referrer, outside of search engines, was Facebook, which referred 3 percent of all our backers,” Migicovsky said. “You can imagine that there was a very very long tail of other social media sites, blogs, media sites referring our customers to us.”

5. Set Your Goals and Timelines Carefully

Without a confident and reasonable schedule, people will be hesitant to get involved. Learn from other crowdfunded campaigns to get an idea of what people might expect.

“You get a lot of media when the campaign launches and then a lot as you reach the end. Keep it short, keep it fresh and dynamic. For us, we set it at 37 days.”

Your particular milestones and timeline will depend on the nature of your challenge. You may need one or two prototype rounds, where you set preliminary deadlines to ensure you make steady progress.

Many of the challenges here on HeroX last for at least several months, and some run for over a year.

6. Offer Interesting and Valuable Rewards

It seems obvious, but a proportionate incentive is a key component of a successful incentive competition. What do people want, and can you use your reward to separate you from other projects vying for attention?

In most cases, incentive challenges offer a monetary reward, though you're certainly not limited to this. What's an appropriate reward for your project?

Are you trying to blast off to space, or solve a local problem in your community? Take a look at contests of a similar scope being hosted by HeroX and the XPRIZE.

Try to estimate the predicted impact of your incentive challenge, and offer a reward that will fit the bill. The reward for the XPRIZE 2017 Visioneers Challenge, for example, is the immense recognition that will come from it.

Pebble has since been acquired by Fitbit for somewhere between $34 and $40 million and is no longer operating independently to produce or sell smartwatches. But you can still learn valuable lessons from the story of their Kickstarter success, and launch a technological or cultural revolution of your own.

Are you ready to change the world? There are industries and cultural norms that are primed and waiting for positive disruption. Get your groundbreaking ideas in action with the XPRIZE Visioneers 2017 Challenge!