Upon receiving the award from Her Royal Highness Princess Badiya of Jordan, Lifestraw inventor Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen challenged the audience to make the clean water crisis in sub-Saharan Africa as prominent an issue as AIDS relief or global warming by extending their time, expertise and connections to help the project. As part of the award, Saatchi & Saatchi pledges such involvement, bestowing $50,000 cash and an equal sum in consultancy on the winning idea.
Saatchi's worldwide creative director Bob Isherwood presided over the evening and had high praise for Lifestraw: "I think it's an amazing idea, a world-changing idea. You have such a huge proportion of the world's population that can't drink safe water; 6,000 children a day dying from polluted water. To have a straw that you wear around your neck that you can put in contaminated water and turn it immediately into totally safe water is incredible; it is world-changing.
"Mikkel has given us a challenge of championing diarrhea; that was his challenge. I think we'll need to sit down and work out exactly what he means by that and how we can deliver that but it sounds like if no one else has got their hand up for it it's a good space to be in."
Judge Edward de Bono, who awards his own Medal for Thinking, bestowed the honor on a project called Printing Skin and Bones, which uses inkjet printing technology to put together tissue structures where cells can replicate.
"We tried to look for things that were going to stand up for a while," said Tom Eslinger, Saatchi worldwide interactive creative director. "When Bob briefed us we were looking for the things that didn't look like they were just the next evolution of something that already existed. We were looking for something shattering, something very, very different."
Other finalists for the award included the One Laptop Per Child project and the Wadsworth Brain-Computer Interface. View all the finalists and learn more.