What’s the Lumina Prize? You could have the winning idea!

We're unearthing the next big idea in post-high school education. Is it yours?

JAMIE MERISOTIS: Our model is really predicated on the idea that we need large-scale change. We need system change, not tinkering at the margins. We actually need to focus on a much broader model of learning and working. So in this model all learning should count. It shouldn't just be the kinds of learning that you get when you go to a traditional learning enterprise, a college or university.

Innovation is something that we've long talked about but today innovation is really critical to success in the system. We need innovation that actually focuses on two key objectives. The first one is time, that is the pace of change that's happening today requires innovation that is much more rapid than what we've seen in the past. So we need more like a rapid prototyping model of innovation than what we might have had in the past where you would do some experiments, do some innovation and then hope for some change.

The second important thing is scale. The nature of the change that's required is actually going to have to be at scale. In other words, the innovation actually has to be focused on the fact that it's going to serve a large number of people – that it's actually going to solve large-scale social problems. So innovation in the past and particularly philanthropic organizations trying to support innovation have often been focused on germinating new ideas with the hope that at some time these things will achieve scale. Today, we need to be focusing on innovation that is actually going to take place much more rapidly and is actually going to be focused, from the get-go, on scale.

Our objective in this work is quite simple. First, we want to work with entrepreneurs and discover the best ideas that are out there that might help us achieve this large-scale impact that we want to achieve. The second is to elevate those ideas through this partnership with Big Think in ways that will give them a platform, give them visibility. And the third is actually to work with the entrepreneurs to achieve the scale impact that's necessary. And so our model here is to help uncover, discover those big ideas, actually help to elevate them and then work with the entrepreneurs to achieve the scale that's needed.

So if you've got a big idea that you think is going to address these challenges, we want to hear from you. We want to get your ideas and actually help you develop them. So under this Lumina Prize we'll actually fly two innovators to New York for coaching and a video interview that will allow you to actually create a platform for this work, for the idea that you have, to help it be seen by millions of people.

There's a great opportunity here, not just for Lumina Foundation and what we're trying to achieve through our efforts as a national leadership organization, but there's also benefits for others. Obviously, the entrepreneurs we want to work with through this process are going to achieve great benefit but so are the people who are going to learn from this combination of what Lumina is trying to do with these entrepreneurs through the Big Think platform in ways that will actually reach much broader audiences.

  • Lumina Foundation is partnering with Big Think to unearth the next large-scale, rapid innovation in post-high school education. Let's lift Americans up the economic ladder and redefine education and training for the new economy.
  • Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Its goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.
  • If you have an idea that could empower learning beyond high school, enter the Lumina Prize. You could win flights and accommodation for two nights in New York City, media training from Big Think's producers and social venture advisors, and the opportunity to film a Big Think video that will be seen by a network of potential investors and an audience of 5.5 million people.
  • Enter the Lumina Prize below.

Got a question for a real NASA astronomer? Ask it here!

NASA astronomer Michelle Thaller is coming back to Big Think to answer YOUR questions! Here's all you need to know to submit your science-related inquiries.

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Big Think's amazing audience has responded so well to our videos from NASA astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication Michelle Thaller that we couldn't wait to bring her back for more!

And this time, she's ready to tackle any questions you're willing to throw at her, like, "How big is the Universe?", "Am I really made of stars?" or, "How long until Elon Musk starts a colony on Mars?"

All you have to do is submit your questions to the form below, and we'll use them for an upcoming Q+A session with Michelle. You know what to do, Big Thinkers!

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