USC hosts X PRIZE Day
The X PRIZE Foundation will bring its “visioneering” process to USC today, encouraging students to develop solutions that address the biggest problems facing the planet.
The foundation will team up with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and the Alfred E. Mann Institute (AMI) for Biomedical Engineering to host X Prize Day, an event at the Davidson Continuing Education Center.
“We value the interest from the X PRIZE Foundation to work with USC. This partnership has brought new dimensions of teaching to the university,” said Gene Miller, executive director of the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at USC Marshall.
Miller co-teaches a class using the X PRIZE model with AMI director Jonathan Lasch, who will speak at today’s event.
The visioneering process is similar to the way the foundation famously helped jump-start commercial space flight with the Ansari X PRIZE, an offer of $10 million to the first nongovernment group to launch a manned craft into space twice within two weeks.
The award was won in 2004 using SpaceShipOne, a craft designed by Burt Rutan, and in the meantime the promise of that large cash award has inspired investment and innovation by more than two dozen groups.
After addresses by the event’s keynote speakers, students from USC Viterbi, USC Marshall and USC Annenberg will break into small groups and brainstorm about what global challenges currently face the world and then develop proposals to address them. At the end of the day, the students will present their proposals.
“My hope is that this experience is a jumping-off point,” said Erin Reilly, creative director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab and USC organizer of X PRIZE Day. “That if any of the ideas the students come up with turn into the next big X PRIZE challenge, they have the opportunity to take it further by observing the process of how others take their challenge up to solve a real-world problem and make a change in society.”
Speakers at the event include USC Viterbi dean Yannis C. Yortsos, who will cover the school’s global initiatives, and Lasch, who will present global economic and business perspectives of chronic versus infectious disease management.
The afternoon will kick off with a talk from Jonathan Samet, executive director of USC Global Health, on his recent trip to Uganda and the factors that facilitate and block health care for the masses. After the students make their presentations, the winning challenge will be selected.