XPRIZE Visioneers 2017

XPRIZE Visioneers 2017

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

Challenge Overview


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.


Updates 14

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!

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