Business and Society Program
Business and Society Program
Prize Competition to Promote Future Mindedness
On May 1, 2012 the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program launched an 11-month project to design a capital markets-focused prize competition. We aim to design a prize competition that identifies innovations that encourage future mindedness in capital markets and longer-term thinking and acting by the savers and users of capital and their influencers. This competition draws inspiration from the Aspen Institute’s ongoing work to combat market short-termism and Albert Einstein’s advice: “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.”
What does "future mindedness in capital markets" mean to us? Future mindedness is the anti-thesis of the current hold for a nano-second trading culture that appears to value profit making for one's self over true investing and value generation that benefits shareholders and society. We believe future mindedness is demonstrated through a variety of behaviors and attitudes, such as patience and making an investment with an eye to holding for 7 or more years.
The Design Phase of this project includes the following major activities:
- Step 1: Objective setting and Situational analysis (finished)
- Step 2: Stakeholder analysis and Prize strategy development (finished)
- Step 3: Develop the competition, including defining rules, structure, and contestants' rights (finished)
- Step 4: Create implementation plan for prize contest (finished)
Concurrent with the prize competition design activities outlined above will be:
- Pursuit of prize competition co-sponsors who will help fund the prizes to be awarded at the end of the contesting period and support the prize management and evaluation processes to be conducted in a later Implementation Phase.
- Communications and Media Outreach
For a current list of project advisors, please go here. In addition, Adessy Associates is collaborating with the Aspen Institute in the design of the competition; they will be instrumental in helping us to successfully complete Steps 3 and 4.
For further information, please contact prizethefuture[at]aspeninst.org.
Project Summary (from Proposal to the John Templeton Foundation)
Capital market short-termism arguably constrains free enterprise to do what it does best: invest in innovation, take beneficial risks, create valuable products, and invest in people. Short-termism causes societal ills, like stagnant growth in retirement assets, jobs, and well-being. Managers, investors, and academics are starting to demand long-term orientation, and so the time is ripe to harness competition and creativity to demonstrate future mindedness.
We aim to reorient investors toward long-term value holding by promoting future-mindedness via a prize competition. The contest will challenge the brightest financiers, investors, and academics to produce a financial innovation, likely a financial instrument, which rewards investors who engage in Sir John Templeton's philosophy that value is not created overnight. We envision that prizes will be awarded in a later phase for best retail investor innovation and best institutional investor innovation.
Our inspiration is Sir John Templeton's challenge to approach knowledge humbly, embrace ignorance, be radical in questioning accepted axioms, and rely on competition and inquiry to find prosperity.
Project activities and major outputs include design of the competition, creation of a detailed implementation plan and procurement of prize co-sponsors. The aim of the prize competition is to shift the market and intellectual climate so that long-term holding periods are encouraged. Ultimately, the competition could change the way capital is allocated, so that the private sector can more effectively benefit society.
The Aspen Institute has promoted future mindedness since 2003. Collaboration with the John Templeton Foundation will amplify our voice, and, over time, provide incentives for patient investors and create the conditions in which business can create long-term value and contribute to overall prosperity.
This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
*Since submission of the Aspen Institute proposal to the Templeton Foundation, the scope of our competition has expanded to include more than investor-focused innovations to encourage future mindedness.