January 22, 2010

Per Aspera Ad Astra –Through difficulties to the stars

It is almost dizzying to try and imagine what innovation and renewal could bring about as we tackle the challenges of today's complex societal crisis. This is not a time for the timid and the discouraged. It’s the time for bold visionary power.

We are convinced that we are well on the way into history's largest ever societal reconstruction project. In forty years, nine billion people need to be supplied with education, energy, food, housing, culture, transport, entertainment and rights /justice. They must live in a dynamic balance with nature. They place their hopes in technological innovation and in our ability to "Rework the World".

We have done this before, rebuilt society, but without the absolute requirement for renewal demanded by our current converging crises.

Our time is far better able to plan and manage innovation and change. If governments and companies can manage the crisis well, the shift will go fast and it will reach all humanity.

The three converging crises, whose solutions will change the world, must at the same time
• terminate the ongoing destabilization of ecosystems
• provide additional 1-1.5 billion people place in value-added work
• permanent economic growth and financial stability

We must not put a bridle on creativity and innovation. Right now new solutions are flowing from labs and creative design centers. New battery technology for renewable energy and electric automobiles; offshore wind farms with back-up wave power, windmills that draw water from arid air; a rapidly diversifying solar industry on the verge of exponential growth, from roof panels to massive desert-scale installations; harnessed photosynthesis for hydrogen home power plants; smart grid software and hardware; new sustainable closed-loop energy and waste systems in urban designs; new medical technologies; new farming methods.

Globalization accelerated in order to create higher productivity and growth. The Internet has released the new arenas of value creation and growth. Future ecological efficiency and stability in economic productivity will stimulate a different technological base for growth than that which led to ecological destruction. The good news is that this is already well underway.

To rework the world need not take more than 25 years. Growth that renews the ecosystem's capacity and puts billions more into work and welfare is what the world needs.

The world has become interdependent. Our identity and consciousness are evolving, from being simply Swedes or Indians, to being mutually dependent; and that in everything we do, we humans depend on the laws of nature.

These are the emerging patterns in the scenarios of the future. The problems that the old development gave birth to can only be solved by a new development. The paradox is that the problems created by the world are the drivers of the new world.

In June 2010 Tällberg Foundation gathers two thousand entrepreneurs from all parts of the world and many walks of life to create a vision to unleash the forces to build anew: Rework the World. In 2005 the Tällberg Foundation foresaw that the main scenario for the following few years would be bleak for the environment and economic development. Now, as these crises have pushed their way into our consciousness, change too will come, change that can take us through the difficulties to the stars.

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