History

<<Click Here to see founder Mike Dewey's Presentation on the Victory Project>>dewey family

In response to his wife's illness and the impending threat of breast cancer in his daughters, Mike Dewey started the non profit The Victory Project as a dramatic new approach to breast cancer and other problems. Mike and his family live in Austin, Texas, where he is the Managing Director for a small consulting firm working with international clients. Here is his story:

My wife, best friend and hero, Barbara is a breast cancer survivor. So is her sister Colleen. Their aunt died of cancer. Unfortunately, this means that one or both of our daughters, Patricia and Elizabeth, will almost certainly develop breast cancer. That realization frightened me AND spurred me into action.

I realized pretty quickly that this problem is not easily solved and that under no circumstances was I the person who could develop a cure for breast cancer. Great, I thought, what do I do now? The girls are still going to get sick and I had to do something.

I then began thinking about how I might create an environment in which someone else could create a cure for breast cancer and prevent my daughters, and daughters everywhere, from going through the terrible ordeal I personally witnessed my wife, my sister-in-law, and many of our friends suffer through.

We know that among the keys to achieving success in business are:

  • Set clear goals
  • Focus on results
  • Reward success

I came to understand that the current system, while full of great people trying to do great work, involves spending tens or hundreds of billions of dollars on activities with no clear goal and questionable incentives for researchers. And, it contains two elements that did not make sense to me.

  • The current system PRESUPPOSES that the answer / cure / solution for problems will come from someone already in the system.
  • There is not sufficient incentive to get more and new people thinking about and working on solutions to these problems.

History tells us clearly that the first assumption is not true. In fact, quite the opposite. History teaches us that almost all world changing innovation has come from outside the “system”.  Stated in the language of business: continuous innovation comes from within, discontinuous innovation comes from “out there”.

One of the biggest problems facing mankind for ages was “how do I fly?”. For thousands of years, people had dreamed about flying, worked on solutions and many died trying. At the dawn of the last century, governments and militaries around the world were working on a solution.

Then two ordinary bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, Orville and Wilber Wright, solved the problem and flew.  They were hardly the kind of folks you would have identified as destined for greatness, but they did it.  And they are but one of many examples.

This doesn’t surprise me. I have traveled extensively across America for many years, and I have been constantly impressed and amazed with how many smart, insightful, thoughtful “ordinary” people are out there.  I have a deep and abiding faith in the power of such people, sufficiently motivated, to solve problems put before them.

Now on to the second issue, incentive.

I believe that, not only for breast cancer, but for other big, giant problems facing society and the world, these “ordinary people” are capable of extraordinary things if they are provided with a clearly stated goal AND sufficient motivation. 

So I started to think about and analyze the processes that we, as a people, use to address huge problems facing our society and I began to wonder “what if…”:

  • What if we developed a list of clearly stated problems that WE want solutions for?
  • What if we took a truly significant amount of money and focused only on results?
  • What if the amount of money was large enough to spark the interest and imagination of inventors, creators, researchers, thinkers and tinkerers around the world?
  • What if we could get millions, or tens of millions of new, smart people thinking about and working on these big problems?
  • What if among them were another Orville and Wilbur Wright, Henry Ford, Jonas Salk, Marie Curie, Christian Barnard, or Albert Einstein?

Then I came up with an idea that is simple, elegant and WILL work. It is true to the lessons of history and human nature.

We will develop a list of problems, big problems,
facing society that we would like to have solved;
state them clearly, and offer an Award of $1 Billion
to the first person that solves one.

Wouldn’t that be more consistent with the way things actually get done?

Wouldn’t that be more consistent with the entrepreneurial spirit of America and people around the world?

What if we told donors “we won’t pay a dime of your money until there is an actual solution?”.

And then we will give it away.

We will make sure the cure / solution gets into widespread distribution and benefits as many people as possible.  We will NOT profit from any cure / solution. We believe some problems are so big they require a very different approach.

Is it possible that one of more of these problems can’t or won’t be solved? Sure. As the old story goes, we may be planting shade trees for our grandchildren with these Awards, but it is critically important that we do so.

I also believe, strongly, that society will benefit from the efforts to win these Awards, even if no Award is EVER paid out!!

  • These Awards are the perfect marriage of idealism and capitalism.
  • These Awards will encourage inventors and entrepreneurs around the world.
  • The world will benefit from the efforts to solve these Problems even if no Award is ever granted

There is much work to be done in funding the Awards, funding the review of submissions, and running the foundation. In the interest of focus, we are beginning with four significant Problems, and we will be adding more in the future.

Please help.

Please join the donors who have already committed to help fund these Awards

Please help us get the word out to inventors and thinkers around the world

Please help us solve these problems.

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