UK Sits on Mountain of Unused Ideas
31 Jan 2008
Eight out of ten people in the UK believe they’ve had an idea that would have a positive impact on everybody’s lives.
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£1m prize fund to unlock public’s creativity and tackle climate change
Eight out of ten people in the UK believe they’ve had an idea that would have a positive impact on everybody’s lives but, for the vast majority (72%), their moment of genius remains untapped over worries such as lack of funding or fear of failure.
The findings of a survey for the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) come as the organisation stumps up a massive million pounds for great ideas to save the planet. The cash will be given to winners of the Big Green Challenge, a competition that opens today to encourage people across the UK to work together to tackle climate change.
Four fifths of those questioned believe ideas from ordinary people can make a huge difference to serious social problems like climate change, as well as crime, health and education. However, the findings suggest a lack of funds (36%), lack of confidence or fear of ridicule (31%) and not knowing where to start (25%) are stopping some of the 6 million bright ideas the UK public dreams up every week from being realised.
Designed to address these barriers and develop home-grown ideas into carbon-cutting initiatives, the Big Green Challenge will encourage groups of people and not-for-profit organisations to think of new ways to reduce the carbon emissions of a community. Initial ideas must be submitted by the end of February, after which the top 100 will be whittled down to a short list of ten finalists, each of whom will receive £20,000, mentoring and support to put their ideas into practice. The group with the most imaginative and successful approach at the end of the competition will win the lion’s share of £1 million.
More than half of those surveyed by NESTA claim they would be motivated to act on their ideas if they had financial backing or reward. At the same time, changing people’s lives (45%) and helping the local community (35%) are seen as the most important end results of having good ideas.
Commenting on the survey, NESTA Chief Executive Jonathan Kestenbaum said:
‘The findings suggest that many of the potentially great ideas out there could have a real impact on our big social problems and are going to waste. The New Year offers an opportunity to bring these ideas to the surface. By providing a financial incentive and expert support, we hope to encourage communities to come together to find new ways to tackle climate change.’
Further findings from the survey show:
- The younger generation is more likely to have a Eureka!’ moment, with more than half of under-35s claiming to have great ideas at least every month, compared to a third of those 35 and over.
- Many ideas literally go down the plughole, as the shower or bath is rated the top place for inspiring creativity.
- Around a quarter of women claim to have their flash of inspiration while doing household chores.
- Men are twice as likely as women to have ideas come to them over a pint down the pub.
- One in ten blokes also claims to be inspired while in the lavatory!
Those interested in taking part in the Big Green Challenge should go to www.biggreenchallenge.org.uk to find out more and submit an application form.
Photo – Sarah Beeny Challenge Ambassador
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