Tom Friedman gets it right in his column today, quoting the former CEO of Intel as to what the best path out of recession is. First, require everyone to graduate from High School before they can get a drivers license. Then, as Friedman quotes Craig Barrett…
Barrett argues that we should also use this crisis to: 1) require every state to benchmark their education standards against the best in the world, not the state next door; 2) double the budgets for basic scientific research at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology; 3) lower the corporate tax rate; 4) revamp Sarbanes-Oxley so that it is easier to start a small business; 5) find a cost-effective way to extend health care to every American.
Recently I’ve begun to get acquainted with Dr. John Kao, and a project he has begun to encourage “large scale innovation” in the world.
Dr. Kao is a former Harvard Business School professor, best known for his books Jamming: The art and discipline of business creativity, and Innovation Nation. His new project, the Institute for Large Scale Innovation, is sponsored by Deloitt LLP. The focus is on developing innovations that can be harnessed to address complex global challenges, as compared to the way we often think of innovation as an exciting new product. Large scale innovations do not have to be huge projects, but rather should have widespread effect and be “appropriately inclusive.”
The Institute plans to develop core programs that include… …Supporting the emergence of a network of significant innovation leaders with the influence to provide a meaningful stewardship function for innovation at national and international levels.
…Developing agenda-setting intellectual capital that defines large-scale innovation and leads to the development of meaningful tools and best practices.
…Creating high quality learning experiences relevant to the next generation of innovation leaders.
…Underwriting research that documents the emerging global innovation economy, key innovation flows as well as new competitive dynamics and opportunities.
An initial conference was held last week in the Bay Area, a “Global Innovation Summit of the I20.” The Institute invited a group of innovation leaders from around the world to “create an agenda for global stewardship and collaboration regarding large-scale, societal innovation issues.”
We look forward to a report of the results of this summit meeting, and we continue conversations with Dr. Kao and the Institute regarding possible collaborations with Futurist.com.
The first one, two actually, refers to a program that I helped to create with well known stress and anxiety expert Lucinda Bassett. She has developed and now has a available a 5-CD program called “The Solution .” I collaborated on the first CD in the series, all of which are designed to help you manage in the current stressful times.
I just did a radio interview with KMJO in Fargo, North Dakota, about the Business Week feature on 20 innovations for the future. They were especially interested in the innovations around cancer and nanotech-based treatments, and next generation biofuels. We had written about this Business Week feature before, and you can find more information here.
Later today I will post a summary of some highlights from the Future In Review conference, with even more news about exciting innovations.
My year as a consulting futurist and speaker began on January 8, 2009 with a speech on future trends for Cobalt, a company that does websites and other marketing and computer services for the auto-dealer community, historically General Motors dealerships. They obviously face some big challenges in 2009.
In that speech I said, for the first time, “This is not your father’s recession, but it could be your children’s renaissance.” Since that time most observers have suggested that when we come out of this recession the world economy, national economies, and our personal economic outlooks, will be different. As one friend, formerly a city manager, now CEO of a municipal development corporation put it, people hoping to get back to normal are going to be surprised the learn that the next normal does not look like the old normal.
So, here is my question. If what emerges on the other side of this economic chasm is something new, what does it look like? I hope SNS blog readers will weigh in on this via comments.
In the video interview below, I suggest some preliminary thoughts. The interview was conducted by Brenda Cooper, futurist, science fiction writer, and technology executive. Brenda happens to be a featured speaker at FiRe 2009 in the program slot on the final day, where we look “further ahead.” (I will be interviewing Brenda on-stage.)
We live in a time where exaggeration of all things is the norm, and thus it is easy to become caught up in the idea that “everything is going to change,” (a familiar phrase, no?) because of the economic meltdown. We need to be cautious with our forecasts. But a few things seem likely – a less debt-driven consumer culture which translates to slower growth in consumer spending, a financial culture focused more, for a while at least, on investing in innovation and productive capacity rather than merely manipulating digitized money in the global casino, a more cautious corporate culture when it comes to debt financing, ditto for the construction industry. Most of all, a shift in societal values toward sustainability and back to thrift as admirable habits. These value shifts may manifest most of all in the newest generation, the Millennials, if we believe what they say they want. Admittedly, we will have to see if these value-shifts hold and become long lasting as the long climb out of the recession continues.
The video interview also explores what keeps me up at night: the chance of a run-away negative feedback loop if Arctic methane meltgets out of control and we get a quick spike in global warming, and also the deep political divides in this nation that lead people to prefer to be right rather than happy. The latter shows up especially when people express a hope that certain economic remedies fail, and fail spectacularly, so that a particular point of view can be proven right, never mind the consequences for communities.
And finally, in the interview with Brenda I discuss the concept of optimism, about which I am asked all the time. To be optimistic is to believe, as I think Mark Anderson once said, that human beings have the capacity, when it matters, to choose the right problems and apply workable solutions to them. This is not guaranteed, but always an option.
Let’s hear from some of you: If the world on the other side of this recession is actually different from what came before, what are a few of its new features?
Here is the video interview of Glen Hiemstra on the future and what comes after this recession.