Finance Innovation Lab shortlisted for Buckminster Fuller Challenge in Social Design

The Finance Innovation Lab has been announced as a semi-finalist in the 2014 Fuller Challenge for its work to drive the development of a new financial system. The Challenge, which is run by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, invites scientists, designers, activists and entrepreneurs around the world to submit innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. Running since 2007, it is described as “Socially Responsible Design’s highest award.”

The Finance Innovation Lab, which is co-convened by ICAEW and WWF-UK, works to create the conditions to enable a new financial system to develop. Recognising that we live in a resource-constrained world, and that the current economic system assumes growth in perpetuity, the aim is to accelerate the search for a viable alternative model. By bringing together entrepreneurs with alternative business models, activists and civil society leaders, and professionals from the mainstream financial services, the Lab is working to help build a more resilient and diverse financial system that is responsible, democratic, and fair.

Richard Spencer, ICAEW’s Head of Sustainability, said: “We have passed the point where incremental change can address the very real challenges that we face. The current financial system is predicated on ever-increasing consumption and relentless demand – we need a resilient, diverse system that enables people to flourish. The Finance Innovation Lab is working to engage people from all sides, from activists to auditors, financiers, campaigners and policy-makers to enable the development of new ways of looking at finance that can better serve both people and planet.”

Twenty Semi-Finalist proposals have been selected out of an entry pool of over 450 applications and have undergone a rigorous review for adherence to the seven-point Fuller Challenge criteria: Visionary, Comprehensive, Ecologically Responsible, Feasible, Verifiable, and Replicable. To reach this stage, the application has already been through three rounds of vetting by members of the Challenge Review Committee, including analysis and evaluation by an interdisciplinary team of experts and advisors.

Elizabeth Thompson, The Buckminster Fuller Institute’s Executive Director, said: “Each of these projects deserve the attention of the world for their commitment to ‘solving for system’ – an approach that takes an unusual degree of insight, patience, tenacity and courage. The teams behind these initiatives have made extraordinary efforts to define the systemic context underlying the problem they are seeking to solve, and have designed strategies that provide enduring and sustainable solutions. Each is a remarkable example of the transformative power of individual initiative and provide much needed hope and encouragement that solutions to our most entrenched problems are indeed at hand.”