It Will Take Creativity + Technology to Fix the Planet
Technology sometimes gets a bad reputation for creating isolation, polarization, division and worse. With all kinds of fake news, bot swarms, extreme rhetoric, cybercrime and streamed violence, there isn’t any doubt that technology can amplify the worst aspects of human nature. But that’s not the whole story.
Technology has also been a driver for major improvement in the human condition for many many years. It has created problems, but it has also been right there with us to help us solve the biggest challenges we collectively face as well.
We simply need to learn how to use technology in smarter ways.
From transcontinental relief efforts to clean energy infrastructure to empowering the kind of wide-scale innovation that drives systemic culture change, technology can be our most promising ally.
Consider the ways that technology is bringing us closer together. Google translate allows us to cross cultural boundaries, cloud-based collaboration software brings together teams incorporating many types of diversity. Advances in supply chain and transportation technology have made intercontinental commerce simple and widely available, relieving poverty and kick-starting economies.
These technologies are the backbone of open innovation, an approach that welcomes ideas from everywhere, inside and outside the organization. Like open source platforms, open innovation embraces the principles of crowdsourcing and massively parallel collaboration.
In 1997, Eric Raymond defined the different approaches to innovation as “the cathedral and the bazaar.” The cathedral is the old world of rigid specialization, where experts direct the disconnected actions from high above. In the bazaar, many varied options are brought forth from diverse sources and the best ideas win. This new approach is in direct conflict with the siloed, hierarchical and closed systems of yesterday that actively suppressed creative ideas that might challenge the status quo. But it is precisely those ideas that show the smashed barriers and lit the way forward in times of rapid change.
Today, learning how to disrupt the status quo is a basic survival skill. Ironically, some of the best advances of the last century are about to become some of our biggest challenges. A growing middle class across the world means communities are being lifted out of poverty, but it will also put more pressure on resources and the environment. At current rates of consumption, we will need three planet earths by 2050 to meet the demand.
Solving these and other challenges means finding radically new ways to produce and consume goods and services sustainably as populations grow and economies evolve. That will take a little more than just technology. It will take the help of massively parallel data processing with decision support algorithms powered by Artificial Intelligence.
That’s why we’ve combined cloud-based collaboration with an AI data analytics engine. The result is an open innovation platform to crowdsource answers to the world’s toughest challenges.
The Fix the Planet initiative is our first problem-solving project open to the public, bringing together ideas from every continent. Site visitors can read ideas, comment on ideas, post their own and then get inspired with information and events on climate action and protecting biodiversity.
From business owners to academics, experts to private citizens, each person brings a unique perspective and experience to the challenge of living more sustainably. No idea is too small, too big or too crazy.
Visit Fix the Planet now through June 3 to see how the ideas evolve and change, then stay tuned to learn the results this summer. We’ll be discussing what we learned and next steps before the UN’s Climate Action Summit in New York, September 23, 2019.
Won’t you join us on this adventure and find out what happens when collective creativity meets advanced technology?