WHAT WE DO



BFI is dedicated to the realization of R. Buckminster Fuller’s vision of a world that works for 100% of humanity without ecological offense or disadvantage of anyone, by means of a design science revolution. Fifty years since Fuller foresaw design science as the key to humanity’s success, the revolution is well underway. It can be seen in the propagation of social enterprise, impact investing, design thinking, systems thinking, the sharing economy, open science, regenerative design, biophilic design, machine learning, and the circular economy (among countless other social trends).

And yet, there is still so much work to do. Realizing Fuller’s vision requires dramatic paradigm shifts that are yet to fully take hold: from win-lose to win-win, from separation to interconnectedness, from scarcity to abundance, from reductionism to comprehensiveness, and from competition to cooperation. It requires global adoption of new ways of thinking and doing: seeing the whole instead of its parts, embracing uncertainty, championing experimentation and learning, and exploratory vs. linear modes of execution.

BFI seeks to further Fuller’s work by accelerating the design science revolution; inspiring and supporting a new generation of design science pioneers who are leading the transition from an extractive to a regenerative global economy.

Our programs address three distinct needs:

EDUCATE: Buckminster Fuller’s thinking is more relevant than ever, and much of BFI’s work focuses on updating and propagating his ideas for the current times. Fuller spoke extensively of his disdain for contemporary models of education and their resulting reductionism and over-specialization. A renowned polymath himself, Fuller maintained that the comprehensive thinking that comes from cross-disciplinary understanding was necessary for designing the future. He believed that wealth was a function of human knowledge, which in turn grew through experimentation and learning. Yet today’s dominant model of execution is far more static and linear than it is dynamic and circuitous.

Through our educational programming, BFI seeks to expose today’s leaders to the conceptual models and tools necessary to design a future that works for 100% of life, without ecological offense. We maintain a cutting edge understanding of trends and practices, playing a valuable curation role for our community. The breadth of topics we cover is vast and ever-evolving, ranging from Gaia theory, biomimicry, and permaculture to rapid prototyping, world-building, and regenerative design.

INSTIGATE: At BFI we are big believers in action over recitation. In addition to equipping our global community with new tools for understanding, exploration, and cooperation through our educational programming, we seek to precipitate the solutions necessary to realize our vision. Our programming in this area takes many forms ranging from intimate dinners, field trips, local activities, design sprints, meme fests, and multi-day events. We look forward to experimenting with decentralized models as well. Independent of the form they take, these programs all seek to provoke our community to move from inspiration to action.

ACCELERATE: We believe that many of tomorrow’s solutions exist today, they simply need support to realize their potential. A decade of running the Fuller challenge has surfaced hundreds of regenerative projects around the world. BFI continues to identify promising interventions and endeavors to accelerate their success through facilitating access to human and financial capital, as well as by enabling greater cooperation and learning across initiatives.

All of BFI’s programs are designed to build and strengthen a global community of thinkers and doers leading humanity towards Fuller’s vision for the future. By facilitating convergence and cooperation across the disciplines of art, science, design, and technology, our work extends the profoundly relevant legacy of Buckminster Fuller.

EDUCATE: TRIMTAB SPACE CAMP - Is an online learning experience to learn how to be a better crew member of our living Spaceship Earth. By joining Space Camp, you’ll be a part of a global community of comprehensive thinkers and doers who are looking to connect with each other to create a world that works for 100% of life. There are people from all over the world who you’ll get to share your ideas, questions, and opportunities with, diving into systems thinking frameworks such as rapid prototyping, synergetics, traditional ecological knowledge, design thinking, permaculture and more.

INSTIGATE: The Co-Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth -- An online platform that empowers people to discover the main leverage points to intervene in ecology, equity and ego for radical systems change. Our first chapter illuminates how to grow the Blue Carbon movement, putting carbon back into the ocean and coastal ecosystems while creating more resilience to extreme weather and sea-level rise and empowering communities in the process.

Spaceship Earth Society - A dinner series fostering community conversations at the intersection of technology and ecology that facilitate convergence across the disciplines of art, science, design, and technology in order to catalyze the collective intelligence required to fully address the unprecedented challenges before us.

Spaceship Earth Labs - Design sprints that combine unique insight into global trends and local needs with a comprehensive approach to systems design. Participants are challenged to conceive and apply transformative strategies based on a crucial synthesis of whole systems thinking, Nature’s fundamental principles, and an ethically driven worldview.

Design Science Studio - An educational incubator for art that explores Buckminster Fuller’s principles of Design Science to propel us into a regenerative future. The program will begin with a curriculum that introduces the system view of nature that Bucky cultivated, and spotlights creative applications to spark and enrich ideation.

ACCELERATE: Regenerosity - A network and fund dedicated to accelerating the development and deployment of on-the-ground solutions which radically advance human well-being and the health of our planet’s ecosystems. We aim to support and deeply influence the ascendance of a new generation of design-science pioneers who are leading the creation of an abundant and restorative world economy that benefits all humanity.


Fuller Challenge

The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is BFI's flagship program, offering an annual $100,000 prize to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems.

Open BFI

BFI is committed to opening access to the materials that inform our work. Since its inception in 1983, BFI has worked to activate various communities to engage with Fuller source materials, leverage interest to broadening the understanding of design science principles, offer guided discussions and share original writings by, about or related to Buckminster Fuller.

Mobile Learning

At the center of BFI’s educational mission are the artifacts and concepts that embody Fuller’s life work. BFI develops and deploys mobile learning environments in the forms of exhibitions, lectures, seminars, workshops and rigorous hands-on training.