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Diamandis Wins No Boundaries Award from The Economist

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 26, 2010
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Congratulations to X PRIZE Founder Peter Diamandis, who has been awarded The Economist’s No Boundaries award as part of the weekly magazine’s 2010 Innovation Awards. Recipients were honored last week in London.


Peter H. Diamandis, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and aerospace expert who is founder and chief executive of the X Prize Foundation, is awarded the ‘No Boundaries’ Economist Innovation Award today. Mr Diamandis has spurred innovation by offering prizes to encourage and inspire achievement by innovators in the aerospace, genomics and automotive industries since 2004.

Commenting on Diamandis’ award win, Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist, said: “The idea of offering prizes to encourage innovation is not a new one — it dates back at least as far as the British government’s Longitude Prize of 1714. But Mr Diamandis has brought it back into fashion in the modern era, inspiring both innovators in a range of fields and also prompting other organisations to offer similar prizes. This is a beautiful example of “meta-innovation” — driving innovation in the way people innovate. A relatively small prize pot of a few million dollars can trigger much larger investments as several teams compete to win the prize. And the competition and co-operation between those teams further accelerates the innovation process. This model has already had its most striking success in the form of the $10m Ansari X Prize, awarded in 2004 to the creators of the first privately funded reusable spacecraft, which helped catalyse the emergence of a new private space industry. We applaud Mr Diamandis as he works to help advance other fields, from energy-efficient cars to genome analysis, with further prizes.”

Since the success of the Ansari X Prize, Mr Diamandis has gone on to offer the $10m Archon Genomics X Prize for the first team to fully sequence 100 human genomes in ten days, the US$30m Google Lunar Prize for sending a robot the Moon and the $10m Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize for creating a mass-market automobile prototype that achieves greater than 100 MPGe (miles per gallon-equivalent). The goal is to encourage the creation of viable, affordable and super fuel-efficient vehicles that people want to own.

Morten Lundal, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Vodafone, sponsor of this year’s No Boundaries Award, said: “True innovation goes beyond the usual constraints of industry or sector and creates new opportunities for all to benefit.  The X Prize Foundation is inspirational and its achievements deserve to be celebrated.”

Mr Diamandis is about to announce additional X Prizes that focus on accelerating the rate of positive change over the next five years. The prizes are expected to be worth a total of $100m, and include Energy & Environment, Life Sciences, Exploration (both sea and space) Education and Global Development.

The Economist Innovation Awards programme 2010 culminates with an awards ceremony on Thursday October 21st at the Science Museum, London where Mr Diamandis, alongside this year’s other category winners, will be recognised for their achievements and the result of the inaugural Readers’ Award winner for 2010 will be announced.