Innovations as possible solution to World’s risks and problems or Why innovations matter? (Part 2 of 2)

In my previous post I concluded that World obviously has many problems. There are more than seven billion people in the world and we have problems… These problems vary from important (poverty, water, food shortages, human rights) to less important ones (paricular country’s situations, level of social, cultural political development of a given society). The point is that we can’t control population increase, we fail to control world’s resources consumption, we failed to stop envirtonmental pollution, etc. The list could be continued.

And the question is: so what? Are we going to be concerned about that? Are we going to take measures? Or we will just think as Madame de Pompadour (from 18th century) who firt said famous phrase, “Après nous le déluge” (Do not care about the consequences of my actions, be they disastrous)?

If yes, what should we do? Who should be concerned about that? My strong belief is that more and more people should be aware of what is happening. My role and your role is to pormote ideas about it. And the second thing is action. But what can we do? I’m not going to write here a philosophical essay and list possible soultions, weight outcomes and analyze the results of existing activities completely. This will definitely will take too much time. I will try to deep into one answer which is entrepreneurial revolution and what factors could make it happen.

Why entrepreneurship could be a possible solution but we can fail even that?

It is said to write this, but this is true. I personally think even though entrepreneurship is the most probable way to drive the world out of the collapse, we still not ready for it and long way is still should be passed. Let me list several factors which could put obstacles in the way to the Innovative World:

  • The ressitance to change is embedded in the human nature. Think about how long does it take you to change your habit. Years could come…
  • The limiltless of our view and perception of the world. We basically concerned about our lifes, our family, rarely about friends, even more rare about people from our city, country, region. How about our time planning horizon? 80% of us think about current week and may be month. How many think about year, 5 years, life, lives of our children? Just be honest…May be less than 0.001% of the World is concerned about that.
  • Culture is an issue. It is very hard to change our culture, attitudes, values, view on the world. How many of you heard about religious extremism and intolerance. Probably you will not think about yourself as a fanatic terrorist, but you obviously could find signs of anger if something is not going to happen within your usual world outlook.
Human Perspectives

Human Perspectives

The current situation can’t be changed in a moment, because the World it is huge, complex and already has certain ”direction of development”, moment of inertia. Historical analogies tell us that there should be a top-down and bottom-up approach in order to carry out successful changes. Only combination and synergy of both could bring tangible result in a foreseeable future. In this work we will consider only bottom-up approach to the problem. Let me give you an example coming from Russian perspective. The World War II in Russia is called The Great Patriotic War (1941 – 1945). There are different points of view on whose war it was, whose contribution was the most for the victory, who won that war. According to US, UK, France opinion it were the wartime allies. According to China’s perspective the situation is different. However, in Russia it is considered that it were russian people who won this war, who suffered the most and put the most effort in order to put the red flag on Reichstag. It’s interesting that during the 40s everyone in the world acknowledged that it was Soviet Union who actually broke the spine of Nazi Germany. Later on during the Cold War a lot was done in order to reduce the importance and contribution of USSR in that war, and put the situation in the way that a D-Day was the most important in the whole war. But rarely people asses the figures and statistics such as 25 mln people of USSR dead in that war, while as there were only 400K in the US, 286K in the UK, 412K in France.

But why am I speaking about the Second World War? The main issue for the Soviet Union was that when people realised that this war is gonna last very long. Everything in the USSR was obeyed to the war situation.Suddenly the world changed to millions of people. And after Stalin’s speach people knew that this is the highest priority for all. That everything else is just secondary issue when thousands were dying everyday. The  horrific situation united people and make them stood as one. I put this example in order to demonstrate that this is the only case in the world’s history I know where millions of people were forced to change their lives so significantly and so drastically. There were no cases before of such a scale. That is why bottom-up and top-down approaches could be the more efficient ones. When Government committed to the problems solution and there is full support coming from the bottom, moreover, not only support but will, heroic acts and selflessness.

Even though, there are many aspects and ways of how the current World’s situation could be changed, statistics and historical trends tell us that the most efficient one could be innovations and entrepreneurship.

Social aspect of the bottom-up approach to the World’s problems

There are two aspects of consideration of bottom-up approach.

First general aspect is connected to social factor of the problem. I will devote several passages to it because it determine the context of the second. Without the first, the second will not be possible.

Secondly, entrepreneurship as a possible answer to the challenges of the world. This will be discussed in details in the next section.

And now I would like to explain the initial premises without which the entrepreneurial revolution will not be possible.

Knowledgeable thinkers such as Mr. Meadows, Mr. Rifkin (author of “The Third Industrial Revolution”), Mr. Toffler (author of “Future Shock”), Mr. L. Brown (author of “World on the Edge”) and others predicted possible collapse scenarios. All of them suggested similar approaches to deal with problems. Let’s have a closer look at Mr. Meadows in his keynote speech in 2012 “It Is Too Late for Sustainable Development”. He states that there are some actions that could be done in order to put more emphasis on raising the resilience of the system. He also proposed some actions that could be done in order to shift the paradigm of consumption towards the paradigm of sustainable development. I reviewed them and synthesized a framework for changing the world.

Changing the World Toolkit (ATMCA Toolkit)

Changing the World Toolkit (ATMCA Toolkit)

  1. People should be aware, people should see, and understand trends, limits, and need for the real change. Few people really do this (see Figure 2).
  2. People need to think and make a choice (which ethical position to take). There could be basically two main positions: passive and proactive.
  3. People need to change a paradigm of thinking and acting. We need to change firstly our lifestyles, behavior, cultural norms and habits. Shift in paradigm should be made in the following aspects:
    1. Avoiding collapse will require a longer time horizon than our current system provides. Let’s consider example of a MNC. Any organization, or government has it’s own period of planning. Rarely you could see the time horizon more than a 3-5 years ahead nowadays. It was in the stable decades (70th, 80th) of 20th century when corporations used long periods for planning (5-10 years) their ROI and profits. Currently, it’s even less (in the field of strategy academics speak about emerging strategies which cover a period of 1-2 years). Every economist speaks about highly volatile markets, emerging approaches to market, short time-to-market cycles. Investors want to see the return on investments in 1-3 years usually. Otherwise, they will not invest. Payback period and NPV should be shorter. The same for corporations. The principle of the short-term profits rules the world.
    2. We act as if technological change can substitute for social change. Thus, changes in mind are required. Completely new mindset should be embedded in the brains of leaders. Then this system should be rebooted and run again.
  4. We need to act immediately. This disaster could be avoided if people work rapidly toward an equilibrium between resources, consumption, and human numbers. There are several things that could be done: demography, lifestyle & culture, efficiency of the global system, effectiveness of the global system.

Having donecall of the above we will only prepare a platform for the paradigm shift. But the main driver and engine should become entrepreneurial revolution that is happening nowadays (Isenberg, 2010).

In conclusion, I would like to admit that the World faces tremendous amount of problems: economic, environmental, geopolitical, social, technological. Social, institutional, political mechanisms fail to solve these key problems and prevent exponential growth. World modeling showed that we are on the way to collapse if we will not change our attitude towards consumption of nature resources, technological pace and number of people. There is one possible way to cope with these problems, which is Innovations Managed Development (through innovations and entrepreneurship). Solution of the problems should come from the bottom, not from the top of the society’s pyramid. And before we can make entrepreneurial revolution realistic, we need to prepare a foundation for it. The ATMCA framework proposes needed actions to make it happen.

“This is the question of survival!”(A. Krol, 2012)

Key ethical hope for us should be: “We believe, that the evolution of a society that favors innovation and technological development, a society based on equality and justice, is far more likely to evolve in a state of global equilibrium than it is in the state of growth we are experiencing today.”

I will add this series with the one more post which will be devoted to the entrepreneurship, innovations managed development principles, and main answer to the question of this series, “What innovations can give to the world? Why they can be considered as one of the possible solutions to the world’s problems, especially to the “limits to growth” issues?”

Good luck and see you soon…

P.S. Below you will find a link to Mr. Meadows Speech, “Perspectives on the Limits of Growth: It is too late for sustainable development”

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