The Gaia Prize For Fertile Failures
by John Elkington
John Elkington (British, born 1949) is cofounder of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978), SustainAbility (1987), and Volans (2008), where he is executive chairman. He has written seventeen books, sits on over twenty boards or advisory boards, and blogs at www.johnelkington.com/journal.
This is an embryonic idea that surfaced during the course of the 2052 Glimpse Authors session in Cambridge, during 2013. In a way, it could be a counterpart to Peter Diamandis’s X Prize platform, catching at least some breakthrough innovators as they fall – and encouraging them to get back up on their feet and try again. In the same way that Icarus blazed the trail for aviators, so today’s sustainability pioneers are pathfinders for new forms of value creation and politics. Their successes will help drive the sustainability transition, no question, but so too may the lessons flowing from at least some of their failures.
The purpose of the Gaia Prize for fertile Failures would be to short-circuit the processes of innovation, massively accelerating the evolutionary processes that have taken life from slime toward the stars in 3.8 billion years. This embryonic idea may well wither on the vine, but if there is interest in incubating and developing it, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.