Sustainability and Google’s 10th Anniversary

Published on September 24th, 2008 | by

Ideas may be a dime a dozen, but turning an idea into action generally costs money–sometimes a lot of money. And that’s where Google can be of service.

It’s Google’s Tenth Anniversary, and they are celebrating by giving away up to $10 million for good ideas to change the world.  Project 10^100 is open to any idea that will “better the world,” but here at The Inspired Economist, we’re hoping you’ll have an idea to sustainably grow a local or major economy, to The Hippo Water Rollerlower energy demand or to develop clean energy, to reduce exposure to toxins and/or to clean up the environment.

‘no pressure, but you have only until October 20, 2008 to formulate a really, really good idea. You’ll submit it online. When you check out the brief submission form, you’ll see that you can also submit a video, and you can also ask to be connected with foundations that might support your idea if you are not selected for Google’s award… And how do you get selected?

A truly brilliant idea: The Hippo Water Roller

Google’s Award Process

In what has to be one of the coolest job assignments ever, Google employees and an advisory board will narrow the submissions to 100 semifinalists by January 27th, and then there will be a brief public voting period. (You can sign up for an email reminder of that voting period on the “sign up” page (I assume) whether you are submitting an idea or not.

Google Says, “Give it Your Best Shot,” but you can hedge your bet by submitting multiple ideas.

A Related Effort: Global Philanthropy Forum

I want to use this opportunity to give a shout out to a related effort (related because it is about applying private wealth for the collective good). When I heard about Google’s new award, I immediately thought of the Global Philanthopy Forum, which the World Affairs Council founded to convene private foundations to cooperate on long-term solutions to the World’s problems and to improve the likelihood of reaching the UN’s Millennium Goals. I think that government’s (who are focused on the next election) are not well equipped to deal with complex, systemic problems that require long-term sustained efforts for change.

International social entrepreneurs are also included (and that means you, green business entrepreneurs).

So let’s be optimistic–that human beings can solve more problems than we cause. I, for one, am happy to focus on a bit of good news while we’re fuming over our government and the financial industry having failed us so dramatically.

Don’t Stop Now:  See what my colleagues have written on this issue:

To Bailout or Not to Bailout:  Is Free Market Economics Sustainable?

Google.org: An Interesting New Approach to Philanthrophy

Under 25? ‘got a Green Project? Check out These Grants

How to do Cause-Related Marketing Well

Also,

Read about Google’s initiative on clean energy (and listen to an NPR story).

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, hear Eric Schmidt speak (at the Commonwealth Club on October 1st) about Google’s green energy initiative.

The Hippo Water Roller photo is from the hipporoller.org site. Please check it out!


About the Author

A strategy and marketing consultant, Leah enjoys highlighting the efforts of, and providing information for, social entrepreneurs. In her consulting practice, she works with cause-related businesses and enlightened investors--to see people succeed at doing good for the planet and local communities while doing good for themselves. Leah has a B.S. in business from UC Berkeley and an MBA and Certificate of Public Management from Stanford University. More information at www.leahedwards.com