MIT Sloan Announces Gift from Eric and Wendy Schmidt to Support Inclusive Innovation Competition

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 7, 2015 – Following the announcement of the Inclusive Innovation Competition at MIT today, the Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) received a surprise donation by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.  Mr. Schmidt is the executive chairman at Google; Mrs. Schmidt is a philanthropist.  The announcement came during the launch of Solve (solve.mit.edu), MIT’s new cross-disciplinary program to address the world’s most pressing challenges, where Mr. Schmidt co-chaired a session with Professor Erik Brynjolfsson and Dr. Andrew McAfee of the IDE called “Sparking a New Era of Business Innovation”. 


Mr. Schmidt said, “Erik [Brynjolfsson] and Andrew [McAfee] are undertaking critically important work at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, and we are very excited to support the Inclusive Innovation Competition so we can motivate the type of change that provides more and better jobs in this new era of technology-driven innovation.”


To address this issue, the Initiative on the Digital Economy is launching the Inclusive Innovation Competition in collaboration with the MIT Innovation Initiative.  The Competition’s aim is to focus entrepreneurial and innovative energy on improving economic prospects for all workers.


IDE Co-Director Andrew McAfee noted that “we’ve got a chance and an obligation to make important if not dramatic changes that provide opportunity for everyone in the face of these brilliant technologies, because I believe we are just at the start of the Second Machine Age."


The Inclusive Innovation Competition is also supported by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Joyce Foundation.  The Competition will use a crowd-sourced approach to push the limits of what is possible to change the world for the better. It will include monetary prizes in at least four categories, including skills development, income enablement and wage equality, augmented labor, and public-sector programs. Details on the categories for prizes will be announced in January 2016 when the competition opens for nominations. Semi-finalists will be announced in May 2016 and grand prizes will be awarded in October 2016. Judges will include representatives from industry, academia, private foundations, and public policy.


For more information on the contest, visit http://innovationcompetition.mit.edu.     


The MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) explores how people and businesses will work, interact, and prosper in an era of profound digital transformation. Working alone and with public and private sector partners, the IDE supports and conducts groundbreaking research in the areas of productivity and employment, big data, new digital business models, and social analytics. The IDE sponsors fellowships; hosts competitions, conferences, and roundtables; and supports other events that inspire new ideas. The IDE believes that challenges posed by the digital economy not only are solvable, but that technology will create new opportunities for people and businesses to thrive.  For more information, visit http://mitsloan.mit.edu/ide.


The MIT Sloan School of Management is where smart, independent leaders come together to solve problems, create new organizations, and improve the world. Learn more at mitsloan.mit.edu.