05 July 2017

Major new economics competition launched: £100,000 Indigo Prize

• Indigo Prize aims to find new ways to measure economic activity beyond GDP
• Winner will receive £100,000, with runners-up receiving £25,000 and £10,000
• Judging panel includes Jim O’Neill, Stephanie Flanders, Ed Vaizey and Gus O’Donnell

A major new economics competition, The Indigo Prize, is being launched today, with an eminent judging panel including Jim O’Neill, Stephanie Flanders, and Gus O’Donnell.

The Indigo Prize challenges entrants to consider how to measure economic activity in a 21st Century economy. It aims to stimulate debate about factors currently measured, given evolving economies, technology and skill bases, and what should now be taken into consideration in official economic statistics that measure the health, size and growth of a modern economy.

Students, staff, faculty members, academics, economic consultants and business professionals from universities, business schools and think tanks are invited to take part.

Entries will be shortlisted, with the finalists presenting to an esteemed panel of judges for the £100,000 winning prize, with runners-up receiving £25,000 and £10,000.

Entrants are invited to submit a 5,000 word answer to the following question:

“How would you design a new economic measure for global economies that fully acknowledges not only social and economic factors but the impact of creativity, entrepreneurship and digital skills? How should your new measure be used to improve the way we measure GDP in official statistics?”

The Indigo Prize judging panel includes prestigious leaders from academia, government, business and economics:

  • Jim O’Neill (former Commercial Secretary and former Goldman Sachs Chief Economist)
  • Dominic Barton (Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company)
  • Mervyn Davies (Chairman of LetterOne, former Minister for Trade, Investment, Small Business and Infrastructure, former Chairman and CEO Standard Chartered)
  • Stephanie Flanders (Chief Market Strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management and former BBC economics editor)
  • Gus O’Donnell (Chairman Frontier Economics, former Cabinet Secretary)
  • Professor Lynda Gratton (author and Professor of Management Practice at the London Business School)
  • Mikhail Fridman (Co-founder of LetterOne and international businessman)
  • Brent Hoberman (founder of lastminute.com and Founders Forum)
  • Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP (former Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy)

The Indigo Prize is an evolution of LetterOne’s Global Perspectives Journal, The Indigo Era, a collection of views from global thinkers on today’s economic shifts. The Indigo Era exposed the increasing importance for 21st century economies to realise ideas as well as exploit their human, intellectual and network capital.

Commenting on the Indigo Era, Mikhail Fridman said – “We are moving into a new economic era where the main source of national wealth is no longer resource rent but the socio-economic infrastructure that allows every person to realise his or her intellectual or creative potential.” 

There is increasing debate around the failure of GDP to fully capture the success of a society. We are now seeing increasing interest in alternative measures, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator, the Human Development Index, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The committee is keen to consider how we measure the impact that the digital economy and advances in artificial intelligence, robotics and technology, are having, and increasingly will have, on our economy.

Commenting on the need for new measures for 21st century economies Gus O’Donnell and Brent Hoberman said:

“As we prepare for a future outside Europe in Brexit Britain, it is time to ask what our continued success or failure as a country will be based on. To what extent should we measure success not by the amount of activity in our economy but by the improvements in the quality of our lives that it delivers?”

The contest is now open for applications, with the deadline for submissions at 18:00 GMT on Friday 15th September 2017. The shortlisted entries will be invited to present their submission to the Judging Panel in October 2017.

Applicants are invited to submit an essay of up to 5,000 words, supplemented by up to 10 charts. A shortlist of entries candidates will be asked to present their concept to the Judging Panel, and answer questions they may have.

Full details of the competition and instructions on how to register are available at: www.global-perspectives.org.uk.