Incentives can be important.
Lindbergh flew the Atlantic, in part, to earn the $25,000 Ortieg Prize.
Nearly eighty years later, Dick Rutan created the first private manned spacecraft to win the $10,000,000 Ansari X Prize.
Those kinds of incentives are now being used to help solve problems on earth, not just above it. Scientific American reports a device that successfully cleans up oil spills has won the $1,000,000 Wendy Schmidt X Prize.
Now, wouldn't it be great if there was an X prize to help create successful, sustainable and translatable prevention strategies?
Maybe as part of a competition that brings together teams of students from business schools and public health programs, leavened with the real world experience of marketing and public relations professionals from ad agencies and PR firms.
For example, the Pacific Northwest could put together a regional team drawn Washington University's School of Public Health and the marketing program at Foster Business School, with advisor-members from Seattle Children's Hospital, Nike's Marketing Development Program, Microsoft's Social Marketing Program, and the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.
There's a good model for it right in the neighborhood: the social entreprenership competition that is sponsored by the Foster School of Business, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Each year, GSEC brings the world to UW: semi-finalist student teams from around the globe are invited to Seattle for GSEC Week. Teams visit regional companies, receive expert coaching, present their business ideas to 400+ professionals, and compete for monetary prizes. GSEC 2012 will award at least $30,000 in prizes, including a GSEC grand, global health, and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) prize! The professional support to GSEC is unparalleled: annually more than 200 experts participate as mentors, judges, and sponsors. We welcome this invaluable support, from individuals at organizations like Costco, Gray Ghost Ventures, Microsoft, PATH, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Smith Barney, Seattle International Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, and the Washington Global Health Alliance.To paraphrase someone with a certain amount of experience in the field of communication, "oh, the places they could go..."