Rod Roddenberry Takes Father’s Vision to Next Level, Offers $1,000,000 Prize For a #BoldlyBetter Future

Header image from Chasing Atlantis

The Roddenberry Foundation recently announced a $1,000,000 cash prize for the best ideas on how to make our future #BoldlyBetter. TrekMovie interviewed leader of The Roddenberry Foundation and heir to the Star Trek throne Rod Roddenberry about the #BoldlyBetter campaign, his foundation’s funding of innovative ideas, and more.

Header image from Chasing Atlantis

Legacy is something that everyone at some time or another wonders about. What will be their legacy be when all is said and done? For Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, it was not just a 50-year pop culture phenomenon, but a movement that says humanity’s future is one of hope and accomplishment. While he might have been known as the Great Bird of the Galaxy, his son Rod is making a name for himself as the Great Facilitator of the Galaxy through his Roddenberry Foundation, which seeks to spur innovation by all to realize the future his father envisioned.

Sparking Radical Innovation
“It’s about big, bold ideas that can change the world.” Rod’s mission is to “spark”, as he refers to it, “radical innovation,” to assist the human race to move forward. In addition to cash prizes being offered to anyone who conceives or is already working on an idea “for a boldly better future,” the Foundation also launched its #BoldlyBetter movement on September 3rd during the Mission: New York convention. The idea behind the hashtag is to spark a viral and social media crusade; to encourage not only Star Trek fans, but all people across the globe, to share their ideas, whether “radical innovation” or a more personal grassroots campaign. In addition, Rod also wants Star Trek fans to share how the franchise has shaped their lives.

Roddenberry Foundation $1,000,000 prize for a #BoldlyBetter future

Foundation to Issue Cash Prizes to Creators, Inventors, and Radical Thinkers
Prior to the start of the 50th anniversary rebroadcast of the episode that ignited the Star Trek phenomenon, “The Man Trap”, at the Smithsonian on September 8th, Rod presented a challenge to the next generation of creators, innovators, and radical thinkers: help humanity move forward and make the world a better place in which to live. To that effect, Roddenberry announced cash prizes would be awarded to the best ideas to accomplish the goal.

Funds from the Roddenberry Foundation will be awarded to those looking to shake-up the status quo of traditional ideas and research, to find ways to improve life on the planet, and help the human race move forward.

“This year, we are running a $1,000,000 prize,” Roddenberry said, “with one $400,000 and four $150,000 prizes. The Roddenberry Prize is for anyone out there who has a bold, innovative idea that has the potential to address a global issue. It doesn’t matter where it is in its process or if it’s a person, a team, or an organization driving it.

“We want to encourage the guy in his basement or garage who’s got a unique idea or even a corporation or large non-profit; it’s for anyone and everyone. That’s the real engagement we want with the public. If you want a better future, have an idea, let’s hear it.”

Attacking this initiative on two fronts, the Foundations’ #BoldlyBetter drive is much more than a social media hashtag. In fact, it is about continuing and elevating the mission that Rod’s father began 50 years ago. Star Trek’s message was one of hope, inclusion and the human desire to explore and grow. Rod wants that hopeful future to become a reality by inviting and challenging everyone to dream big.

“The Foundation has been around since 2010,” Rod explained, “so we’re kind of young and still learning. We don’t listen to people who say it can’t be done, which I love. With the 50th anniversary, we wanted to find ways to reach out and democratize the prize experience. What we want is organizations of all sizes and people from all walks of life to engage in trying to improve and address the issues we face; I genuinely am in love with that idea in Star Trek.”

Rod Embraces the Ideal Future His Father Envisioned
Accepting his new role of emissary of the philosophy his father established with Star Trek, Rod is now carving his own unique niche out of the sensation which has inspired and mesmerized generations of fans and believers in a better tomorrow.

Dreams are useless unless aspirations are high, and Rod has already met at least that goal. He has adopted the ideas of a world working together, where money is no longer the motivating factor in people’s lives, while placing worth on the people themselves and what makes them unique in order to produce a stronger and preferable world. Not surprisingly, he sounds a lot like his father when explaining his idea of the future.

“We won’t get to it in my lifetime, but the idea of the replicator is one that can shape the world. You have something that can control the atom and essentially build whatever you want, anything: money, diamonds, Ferraris, you name it. It can build another replicator. When we learn to control the atom, and we have a device that can replicate itself, there will be no more need or want in the world. Things that we put value in today: fast cars, jewelry, fancy clothes, the importance of those things will go away, because everyone will have access to it. A diamond won’t matter anymore because everyone will have a diamond. So what we’ll do is start to realize what is truly unique and what can’t be replicated is the individual, the philosophy, the idea, the thought. When there is no more need, no more want and we truly find value in learning about each other and the differences in each other. That’s the IDIC philosophy.”

“I take it very seriously, the philosophy, sometimes even too seriously.”

Heidi as a Motivator for Rod
Spotlights tend to shine on the visionaries, much like it did on his father. However, Rod quickly realizes while he has become a promoter of a better future, he understands his own limitations and quickly moves aside to put the focus on those doing the work themselves. He has been inspired by people pushing the boundaries of exploration and science, as well as those also trying to make the world a better place in their own way. In fact, one such person can be found close to home.

“Before we married, before we started dating, Heidi always wanted the world to be a better place. She believed in it, and she had her own way of trying to make that happen. She genuinely wants a quality and unconditional love throughout the entire world. She embodies that as a person. She is very compassionate and a huge inspiration for me.”

Leaders lead, but sometimes they get down in the muck and dirt. Sometimes they bring forth a vision and a call to action. Rod is doing the latter today with his attempt to not only engage Star Trek fans, but idealistic minds in the world. This is where revolutions and movements begin, with a charismatic and excited voice motivating others to follow along, to buy into what is being contemplated.

“I feel very strongly that inclusion is the way to go. Do I have all the answers? Can I snap my fingers and make it happen? Do I understand things are very complicated – absolutely, I get that. I’m pro-world, as corny as that is to say. I don’t care if China comes out with a technology that makes the world a better place – great! If Africa comes out with a methodology that reforms education – great! We have to work together to make our planet better. If we work together there will be plenty of innovation.”

What Gene and Majel Would Think of the Initiative
Sadness does not creep into Rod’s voice when talking about his father and his mother, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who did not force ideas on him, although his father did try to get him into the family business. Commercials at an early age and a job on the set of The Next Generation for a 13-year old Rod did not have the desired impact. Yet today, Rod knows they would both be pleased with this endeavor.

“I wish they were around long enough, because I do think they’d be proud of me, and also think they’d say, ‘you figured it out.’ They had to do all the hard work. I’m privileged in many ways. They had to worry about whether the show was going to be cancelled, renewed, as well as putting food on the table. In terms of Star Trek, I just get to embrace the philosophy and carry it on.”

Passion is an important part on the road to leading others to take a journey of not just faith and hope, but also of action. Listening to Rod, enthusiasm will never be an issue, neither will his lack of humility when it comes to understanding his own limitations. Utilizing the Roddenberry Foundation and engaging fandom, Rod has become the spokesperson for the future of this planet. Like his father before him, we hope the world heeds his call.

“The call to action right now is to go to social media and spread #BoldlyBetter or go to”

“There is so much strength in numbers, with so many, not just fans, but believers in that future. If we can all just sort of get together, we can move mountains, we can change the face of our planet in a better way. It would be nice to get a campaign, where foundations, NGO’s, fans all come together, maybe yearly, to focus efforts in a particular area; whether it’s plastic in the ocean, education, whatever, we could change a lot if we all came together–cheesy, but 100% true.”

Rod, like his father, is cementing his legacy in the world. Perhaps in another 50 years it will be Rod’s son, Zale, continuing the mission laid out by his father and grandfather before him.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Put Trump in solitary confinement for 20 years.

My bank details are below

Yeah, next to Mrs. Clinton’s.

I live in Canada, at first it was entertainment watching Trump, but he has made it to be in a spot to possibly be your President. The voters are responsible for whatever happens next. Both options are scary, whatever happens, the world will be different.

Drive innovation? Cutting taxes would be a start! For two countries with a such great history of trade and innovation, its staggering how hostile the UK and US are to entrepreneurs! Is Rod’s prize tax free?


Ummm. We can all start by picking up the litter!

Here’s some inspiration!

No seriously. Good question. I will give it some thought. No one ever asked me this before!

the correct term is Unlitter ! ….. on Facebook and here

Our nature as people is we are naturally negative. If a horrible event happens, people buy news papers. If a fantastic event happens, it does not seem to gain as much traction as something negative. If someone found an absolute cure for all cancer and wanted to give it away for free, I think every company making big profits on treatments would do their best to stop it. If someone found a way for free energy, I think it would be stopped. That was what Star Trek used to be, a vision that people could go passed that. The old trekkies seen that and liked it, and seen the world differently than most people. We as people need to see the positive, we need to be excited about good news. We need to be able to share innovation so we as people can work for all of us to succeed. We all need to feel responsible for leaving a positive legacy behind. Trekkies/Trekers were always odd in that way, the people who liked it understood the importance of the idea of positive instead of negative. In my opinion that is what has left Star Trek. And for our culture to really excel, we all need to think differently. I believe that is the key to humans survival. Our biggest challenge is surviving ourselves. How do we change? We realize the value of every choice we have, we realize we can impact someone positively, and if we do it right, they will continue the trend. Doing something nice feels good, but it is usually more difficult than doing nothing or being negative. Most people we look up to has likely been less negative than most, and that is really what makes them stand out. Change your world with one positive choice at a time. If everyone did that, Wow, imagine.

Chuck Mosenko

Providing hearing access to ensure anyone with a hearing loss can fully participate. It is time to ensure the ADA is the mandate it was meant to be.

Remove religion from the world, make symbiosis of humanity the worlds focal point. Start a “does it help?” campaign. For every suggestion, criticism, or just general feedback, ask “does it help?”

Excellent idea. I love it. There’s no question the world would be a better place without any organized religions. I’m not sure how you would begin to implement it, however. I do like the idea of a “Does it help?” campaign. Idea: let’s pray more. Does it help? No, Ok, next idea: let’s make recycling mandatory rather than optional. Does it help? Yes. And so on…..

How does this embrace the infinite diversity, infinite combinations in respect to the human race that Gene prophesied?

I have one request of Rod: Please release your dad’s 1950s TV script for “The Secret Defense/Weapon of 117.” *

* It was listed in the Lincoln Enterprises catalog back in the day, so it can’t possibly be lost.

Take all the old aircraft carriers and turn them into international floating schools where your class term lasts 3 months and you tour the world from 11-18 years of age. With ship chores to earn credit, visit disaster areas and offer help and assistance. The kids would learn more in a day than they would in a week at home school.
With a mixed variety of pupils from other countries the ideas and inspiration from these kids would be endless. Gene may get his dream of a federation yet.

That´s a marvelous idea. Take american kids to visit latin america, down to the bottom of southern Argentina and then all the way back to Chile and back to Panama Canal.

Sounds great.

Amazed the foundation has this kind of money at this point, I must say.

More power to Rod.

Ironic that a monetary prize has to be offered to try to get to a time where we no longer need it…
In my opinion, it has a lot to do with education and this would be quite hard when a great portion of the worlds inhabitants want to kill each other mainly through religions that educate their young to hate. Maybe faith should still be allowed but religions banned?
On another hand we have pharmaceutical companies who thrive on healing, but at great costs to line the fat-cats pockets. These companies should work on a non-profit basis.
And why do we have famine in this day and age, when other Countries destroy their surplus cereals, which could feed thousands if they shared it instead.
Possibly the first step is to get every Countries Governments to be re-educated and to stop the corruption within, then try to get an education package of Roddenberry’s vision into all schools in the world as compulsory on there curriculum.
It is a beautiful dream which I would always try to promote, but not an easy one unless all join in.
But Good Luck x

Put any Americans who’ll still vote for Clinton after this debacle of a debate in mental institutions to raise the average IQ of the general public by a good 20-30 points…

Bernie Sanders isn’t available to vote for; Hillary is the only option now.

Bernie would have been an awesome POTUS…

Simple. Ban SUGAR.

it´ll save mankind.

Victor Hugo,

I’d start with banning CORN SYRUP, first then follow with refined sugar.

What’s the story on that starship model in the picture?

Looks like an ugly-ass but well-meaning table lamp.

I find it ironic that there is a cash prize to come up with this “bold” idea, when the solution starts with eliminating the need for money.

Recently saw a 60 Minutes story about several inventors working on making lifelike robots; & teaching them to learn more than humans. I just hope that they turn out to be more like a bunch of benevolent Datas, rather than malevolent Lores.

“Yes, my lord, Mudd.”

I would love to see the future as a positive promising one.
No wars , no indifferences , every race , creed , color every nation working as a whole and relize as of now we ALL live in the same space. One planet is all we have right now. Lets put away our indiffereces & live happy with no worries. LETS PLEASE BE POSITIVE AND MAKE A WONDERFUL FUTURE TOGETHER. :-)

Thank you,
Jim G.G.

I think I would like to add a fond memory. Back in the early 70’s when Star Trek TOS was showing reruns after the late evening news, my older brother & I would turn on the TV in time to start watching. Needless to say it was always on during school nights.
I remember my Dad (R.I.P.) would get up & give my brother & I “hell” for being up to late to be watching TV on a school night saying we’d never get up in the morning for being up so late watching our favorite program. :-)