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Who's in the Video
Jamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, education, and public policy. Since 2008, he has served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation that[…]

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.