The Oil Spill Gets an X Factor

How cool is this: the latest X PRIZE competition, just announced yesterday, is for oil cleanup.




Funded by Wendy Schmidt, president of the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE offers a $1.4-million prize to whoever is the first to develop “innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface.”

Specifically, this is cool in two ways: 1) It’s a laudable goal, for obvious reasons. 2) We profiled Peter Diamandis, founder and chair of the X PRIZE Foundation, in our Leading by Example feature last year. Back then, he told us: “The very first step in creating a breakthrough or having an innovation is believing it’s possible. … By announcing a very large, funded, clear-objective prize, people believe, ‘Wow, okay, it’s gonna happen. How would I do it?'” Doesn’t seem like he’s changed much since we talked to him, does it?

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.