First in Future Contest: Design the Versatillion!

We’re so excited to announce the very first First in Future contest! In Episode 8 of our podcast, First in Future, guest John Hardin introduces us to the concept of the superhero of the future: “Someone who has multiple powers and has the ability to know when to deploy those powers in certain circumstances…Someone who has balance and has understanding and compassion and the information with which to make good decisions.” We’re totally on board with the idea of this Versatillion, so dubbed by IEI Director Leslie Boney, but there’s one major problem—we have no idea what this superhero looks like! This is where you come in.

What Does NC’s Homegrown

Superhero Look Like?

We want you to draw the new superhero of tomorrow! Is he faster than a speeding bullet? Can she fly higher than a plane? Can they negotiate the delicate balance of our changing workforce needs? Submit your idea to for your first chance at a ticket to the 2018 Emerging Issues Forum!

Just a few rules:

  • You must be 18 or older to submit an idea or drawing.
  • You must be a permanent resident of the state of North Carolina.
  • Images must be original or used source material from the public domain.
  • All submissions must be sent to no later than 5 p.m., April 30, 2017.
  • Employees of the Institute for Emerging Issues and their immediate family are not eligible to enter.
  • All judgments are final.
  • The winning entry assigns the rights to the illustration to IEI. The author will receive appropriate attribution where applicable.
  • If your submission is selected, you will be asked to sign a waiver.
  • Please direct all questions to

We need someone to create a depiction of this new superhero of tomorrow. Send us your depictions of John Hardin’s The Versatillion, a superhero of adaptability, able to invent new businesses faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap between disciplines in a single bound, strong enough to gain new skills as the economy changes…The Versatillion is a superhero for the 21st century.

Our crack team of IEI judges will evaluate all entries submitted to our website by the end of April 2017 and will select one lucky winner for the grand prize: a complimentary ticket to the 2018 Emerging Issues Forum, as well as recognition on our website and credit whenever we talk about the image. Yes, we’re serious! We need a transformer for the 21st century, and we think you can design what that superhero looks like.

Not an artist? That’s okay too! Send us your best descriptors for this visionary. What does the successful hero of the future need to know to succeed? What does success look like? What superpowers or abilities does one need to be the hero North Carolina needs? Describe it for us! If possible, attach a rough sketch. We won’t be judging so much based on your artistic merit but more on your creativity and commitment to the future.

We’re open for submissions until 5 p.m. on April 30, 2017. Send all submissions to using the subject line “The Versatillion.” We can’t wait to see what you have in store! Don’t forget to share your submissions on social media using #TheVersatillion!