Monday, 8 September 2008

World Economic Forum Innovation 100 meeting in Palo Alto

Two inspiring days in Stanford at the World Economic Forum meeting about innovations left me with a few questions.

1. Is it possible to find a way to differentiate between innovations that need to happen to ensure a sustainable future and those that are “just fun”. I have to admit that I feel a little tired when people use the iPhone as an example of an innovation. With as planet on the brink of a climate catastrophe and about three billion people under a dollar a day is seems as if it could be other things that we focus on.

2. Is it different drivers for people that deliver innovations like the iPhone and those delivering not only real technology solutions like new solar panels, but social and economic innovations that make a difference?

3. Where in the chain from ideas to implementation is it best to implement incentives that can accelerate sustainable innovations and the implementations of these?

4. Is it possible to measure the degree of sustainable innovation in companies in some way and learn from companies that are pushing for sustainable innovations?

5. How can we move away from a western based focus in key fora and ensure that people that think more than they talk is also provided space?

As always at events with a lot of brain power there are quite a few interesting facts that are presented. One detail about a favorite issue of mine, demographics, became quite personal as I was told that 2050 there will be 380 million people older than 80 years. That is more than the whole population of US today so I will probably not feel alone. I also got some new ideas regarding innovation clusters and hope to be able to use that to support places like Baoding (where I think real innovation is taking place, and where they want more innovation that can help save the planet).