Invitation from the Buckminster Fuller Institute

Join Us!

Do you have a breakthrough idea to solve some of the biggest challenges we face as a global community? Are you interested in participating in an international network of people who intuitively ‘get’ that in order to solve a problem, you are going to have to solve multiple problems all at once? Are you working to figure out just what kind of approach is adequate to the scale of the planetary problems facing humanity?

Participate in Buckminster Fuller’s Challenge!

What is the Fuller Challenge?

Buckminster Fuller called for a design revolution “to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”

Answering this call is what the Fuller Challenge is all about.

Recognized as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Fuller Challenge invites activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, students and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy.

Winning entries for the last six years have applied a rare combination of pragmatic, visionary, comprehensive and anticipatory thinking to tackling issues as broad as urban mobility, coastal restoration and innovation in biomaterials packaging. BFI has created an application process for entry to the Fuller Challenge in which global changemakers grapple deeply with a unique set of criteria. Internationally renowned jurors look for whole systems strategies that integrate effectively with key social, environmental and economic factors impacting each design solution.

Why should I enter the Challenge?

The Fuller Challenge Program has defined an emerging field of practice—the whole systems approach to understanding and solving the interrelated crises facing us. The entry criteria have established a new framework through which to identify and measure effective, enduring solutions to global sustainability’s most entrenched challenges.

We are committed to further supporting this emergent field through our Catalyst Program. Launched in partnership with Interface in 2013, our Catalyst Program leverages sponsorship, in-kind resources, and additional cash awards for semi-finalists and finalists in Challenge. The Program also includes opportunities for mentoring, pro-bono legal services, consideration for fiscal sponsorship, international press coverage, and special invitations to present at conferences and exhibitions.

The countdown is on!

The deadline for submission is April 11th.

Still have questions?

Please join us for a Q & A session in the lead up to the April 11 application deadline. Buckminster Fuller Institute executive staff and members of the review team will share a short presentation on the Challenge and guide you through the award criteria and application process.

Two sessions will be held to accommodate entrants from different timezones.

Session One:
Thursday, April 3, 6:00pm EDT

Session Two:
Friday, April 4, 12:00pm EDT


Buckminster Fuller led a prolific life of research, invention, writing and teaching. He developed a comprehensive systems approach to understanding complex global problems. By rigorously adhering to his unique set of “design science” principles, Fuller’s work embodies a deeply attuned ecological aesthetic. Fuller conceived and prototyped new strategies intended to enable all of humanity to live lives characterized by freedom, comfort and dignity without negatively impacting the earth’s ecosystems or regenerative ability.


Winning the Fuller Challenge requires more than a stand-alone idea or innovation that focuses on one aspect of a system failure. BFI looks for holistic strategies that demonstrate a clear grasp of the big-picture dynamics influencing your intervention. If a proposal emphasizes a new design, material, process, service, tool or technology, it is essential that it be part of an integrated strategy that deals effectively with key social, environmental and economic factors.

BFI seeks initiatives that tackle urgent needs at a range of scales: from macro-strategies that have the potential for widespread, tangible impacts, to local, community-based initiatives with global relevance and replicability. A highly competent project team with the capacity and commitment to move the solution forward for transformative impact is essential.

Entries must meet the following criteria:

  • Visionary – put forth an original idea or synthesize existing ideas into a new strategy that creatively addresses a critical need
  • Comprehensive – apply a “whole-systems” approach to the design and implementation process; aim to address multiple goals, requirements and conditions in a holistic way
  • Anticipatory – factor in critical future trends and needs as well as the projected impacts of implementation in the short and long term
  • Ecologically Responsible – reflect nature’s underlying principles while enhancing the ability for natural systems to regenerate
  • Feasible – rely on current technology, existing resources and a solid team capable of implementing the project
  • Verifiable – able to withstand rigorous testing and make authentic claims
  • Replicable – able to be adapted to similar conditions elsewhere

Winning initiatives integrate these criteria into powerful design solutions that have the potential to play a significant role in the transition to an equitable and sustainable future for all.

To receive updates on the 2014 Fuller Challenge, please contact [email protected].