Ray C. Anderson Foundation Commits $1.5 Million Towards Crowdsourcing Nature-inspired Innovation

Jul 15, 2015 10:00 AM ET

July 15, 2015 /3BL Media/ - In 1994, sustainability pioneer and self-described “former corporate plunderer” Ray C. Anderson started his company, Interface, on a journey towards revolutionizing the entire carpet industry. Over twenty years later, the foundation that bears his name is now focused on something even bigger - a worldwide call to action to crowdsource nature-inspired innovations and bring them to markets where they are needed the most.

To this end, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation has pledged $1.5 million over four years to support the Biomimicry Institute’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge, a multi-year effort to crowdsource, support, and seed promising innovations inspired by nature.

Each year beginning in 2016, the Institute and Foundation together will award the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson “Ray of Hope” Prize to the most viable prototype that embodies the radical sustainability principles of biomimicry and Ray’s name. 

With the Foundation’s support, the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge has evolved into a global open-innovation platform. “Before the Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s involvement, our competition was a tool for engaging university students to get interested in biomimicry,” said Biomimicry Institute Executive Director Beth Rattner. “The teams produced truly promising products and services, but we had no mechanism for helping them go further. John Lanier and the Foundation Trustees, long-time supporters of the Biomimicry Institute, recognized their support could change that outcome, and they have. Our platform is reaching thousands now, both students and professionals, and we have mentors in place around the world.”

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