September 1, 2016: From biohazard suit design to the latest watches, bass guitars, marketing videos, xenophobic violence data, and writing the next big pop song, crowdsourcing is being used to brainstorm new ideas, gather more data and build with better design for just about anything you can imagine. Here are the biggest news stories to wrap up the summer 2016.
Since the release of the Global Innovation Index (GII) last year, the world economy has encountered a number of challenges that have led to further downgrades of global economic growth projections. In the context of such uncertainty, countries will seek ways to move the global economy out of its current holding pattern, thus avoiding a prolonged low-growth scenario. Innovation will be a critical ingredient to achieving this objective.
Africa is growing – economically, in terms of population, and more importantly in terms of investment and market opportunities. Investments in internet and mobile technologies are critical to enabling that growth and these are growing too. Some are also suggesting that Africa could leapfrog other markets and jump straight to the cognitive computing era, enabled by the latest technologies and rapid expansion of big data, which would be a real game changer not just in Africa, but world-wide.
Thanks to the miracle of modern drugs, especially various forms of antibiotics, we think we live in an era of immunity from the effects of many, but not all, diseases and infections. That era may be ending with the rise of drug and microbial resistance. Its passing will affect many aspects of our lives, our economies, mental and emotional health. With luck, the challenge could result in greater cooperation, and radically new tools and techniques. If not, we could face even harsher times.
In a world of economic gloom and crisis in Europe, Africa’s performance and potential provide huge opportunity. Its growth and other performance indicators are strong. It needs entrepreneurs, innovation and investment to make it happen.
Clean water and clean power, especially in remote areas of Africa and other developing nations, are critical challenges. One piece of technology, Microbial Fuel Cells, (MFCs) could help address both problems, and bring the additional benefits of mobile communications – changing the lives of millions. In one incarnation, it might also reduce the scourge of malaria.
Watch this inspiring video about a new innovation for the developing world; the Aquaduct is a pedal powered vehicle that transports, filters, and stores clean water. The Aquaduct was the winning entry in the Innovate or Die contest from Google and Specialized.
Is sustainable business the missing link in alleviating poverty and boosting global trade and prosperity? If so, how should companies exploit this opportunity in practice? Louise Koch, Danish Anthropologist and Business Innovator, talks about best practice, mindsets and resources for sustainable, people-centred innovation in developing countries.