Can Market Based Philanthropy Stem Climate Change?

The Progressive Automotive X Prize certainly seems to believe that market-based philanthropy can stimulate innovation on a global scale through handsome monetary packages – in this case, $10 million.  The goal, announced recently at the New York International Auto Show, is an impressive one –

The newly renamed Progressive Automotive X PRIZE is an international competition designed to inspire a new generation of viable, super fuel-efficient vehicles. The independent and technology-neutral competition is open to teams from around the world that can design, build and bring to market 100 MPGe (miles per gallon energy equivalent) vehicles that people want to buy, and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

This concept, termed “Revolution through Competition”, is not a new one.  In fact, X Prize Foundation has attempted to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit for the benefit of humanity in the past through competitions in the realm of space, the human genome, and energy.  According to Jonathan Greenblatt, senior adviser to the X Prize Foundation,

“It’s a mode that encourages experimentation rather than prescribing solutions. It sets the stage for innovation and dynamism that the grantor can’t anticipate.”

More after the jump. Continue reading