James Earl Jones was right. I mean, of course he was. He’s James Earl Jones. If I ever met James Earl Jones and he told me direct exposure of sunlight to my retina is a good thing, I might throw my sunglasses away.
When was he right, you ask? Well…always. But I’m specifically referring to his “People Will Come” monologue as Terrance Mann in the movie Field of Dreams.
Maybe you know the scene (or you can click here to see it). For most of the movie, Terrance Mann has been an ornery curmudgeon. But right at the moment that Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner, because this is a baseball movie and he is in EVERY baseball movie) is about to sign over his farm and magic baseball field, James Earl Jones begins to speak.
He stares out on the field, a knowing smile on his face. “People will come, Ray.” He turns to Costner, slowly closing his book. “They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom.” He continues, reverently reflecting on what the game of baseball has been to an ever-changing America. And he concludes, saying, “Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
His words reach Ray/Kevin, who keeps the farm and the magic field. And in the closing scene of the movie, James Earl Jones is validated, as a line of cars miles long is seen lined up, waiting to come to the “Field of Dreams.” It’s sappy as heck, but man do I love that movie.
About two and a half years ago, our Foundation decided to partner with The Biomimicry Institute in creating the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. The Challenge was to be a two-step design competition. Teams from around the globe would develop an idea for a commercially viable and biomimetic solution to a challenge. Then, the best ideas would move into an Accelerator Phase, where the teams would be given tools to develop a prototype of their innovation and create a business plan. At the end, one team would receive the $100,000 Ray C. Anderson “Ray of Hope” Prize.
And so we built the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. But we didn’t know if teams would enter. We didn’t know if their ideas would be as innovative and impactful as we hoped, as we need. We didn’t know if “people would come.”
Well, in just a few short days, we will be awarding the first “Ray of Hope” Prize to one of seven finalist teams participating in the Accelerator Phase. Each team has created a truly remarkable prototype to address the challenge of food security. We are proud, impressed and grateful to all of these teams.
Over the course of the next week, you’ll be hearing more from us about the finalists and the winning team. You’ll also hear about the next round of the Challenge. We think we are on to something with this program, and we think it will keep getting bigger and better.
But I want to take this moment to simply reflect. Ray Anderson believed wholeheartedly in biomimicry. His values, beliefs and immense hopefulness are at the heart of this Challenge. I know he would be proud.
We built the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. And Ray – people have come. People have most definitely come.