XPRIZE Foundation and Shell Convene “Visioneers” to Explore Innovation to Help Address China’s Energy Challenge
Los Angeles, CA (October 24, 2012) — The XPRIZE Foundation is partnering with Shell, an innovation and technology leader in the energy space, to explore potential opportunities in China for developing incentivized competitions to help drive innovations in the energy sector. The two organizations convened in Beijing earlier this month for a Visioneering session, an engaging and collaborative workshop where 35 leading innovators from academia, private and state-owned energy companies, environmental non-governmental organizations and others designed and pitched innovative prize concepts that focused on making energy sources, such as electricity generation fuels and transportation fuels, sustainable for the future.
During Visioneering, Shell introduced open innovation as a tool that can assist companies in accelerating progress in constantly evolving industries. This is exemplified by the company’s global GameChanger program, which invests in people around the world, whether in or outside the company, to help advance breakthrough ideas from creation to proof of concept. Incentivized innovation, a model that is synonymous with the XPRIZE Foundation, takes open innovation one step beyond and provides a monetary award or other incentive to accomplish major breakthroughs. XPRIZE Labs also were discussed as a way to institutionalize open and incentivized innovation in China.
“There is a natural synergy between the XPRIZE Foundation and Shell because we have both embraced open innovation by leveraging local and global resources to help identify much-needed radical breakthroughs in the energy sector,” said Christopher Frangione, Senior Director, Energy and Environment Prize Development, XPRIZE Foundation. “Incentivized competitions help motivate individuals, companies and organizations across all disciplines to pioneer ideas and technologies that push the limit of what’s currently possible as we work to help overcome one of China’s most pressing challenges.”
Throughout the one-day workshop, the discussion focused on three key areas: addressing ways to make China’s traditional fossil-fuel-based energy sources more efficient and sustainable; making mainstream renewables such as wind and solar more efficient; and identifying new sustainable energy resources. In small groups, the participants identified specific opportunities that are ripe for energy innovation within these key areas. Those opportunities were then discussed, debated and prioritized as potential prize concepts.
Open and incentivized innovation can help leverage existing research and development dollars by hosting a prize competition with a clear goal and allowing teams to compete to achieve that goal while securing their own financial capital to do so. “I believe the future of innovation is open with collaboration across the boundaries of companies, countries and disciplines,” said Thijs Jurgens, Vice President Innovation, Shell Global Solutions International.
The top prize concepts resulting from the Visioneering session included ones to help consumers better understand their own energy consumption to make more educated choices, to make zero-energy homes, to help China to improve local air quality and to make traditional energy sources free of carbon dioxide emissions. The concepts will be investigated in more detail in the coming months.