“You promised me Mars colonies. Instead, I got Facebook.” This has become the slogan of the frustrated innovator since appearing on MIT Technology Review’s front cover last year.
David Rowan, editor of Wired UK, challenged the audience at last week’s Oxygen demo day to innovate in the true sense of the word. His point is that innovation has stagnated.
He is not the only one who believes that innovation has died and been replaced by clones and quick flips to make money fast.
And it is true that many ‘successful’ companies and entrepreneurs have taken this path. The Samwer brothers are a shining example of serial entrepreneurship based mainly on execution of ideas.
David was not seeking to lay blame or vent his frustration, but to inspire us to use our ability for true innovation which changes the world for the better – or allows us to explore other worlds.
His message matches our own, changing the world for the better is one of our own core beliefs, but it is often a very difficult concept to encapsulate and drive towards.
One place where the big problems are being systematically targeted is Sliicon Valley’s Singularity University which has formed to help future leaders prepare and move towards these kinds of goals.
They have set out to meet the growing challenges facing the world in almost all areas: Space, Energy, Security, Education, Global Health, Poverty, Sustainable Water, Food for Cities and Upcycling.
They have highlighted these areas specifically due to the exponential growth of the problems facing them.
‘A number of exponentially growing technologies will massively increase human capability and fundamentally reshape our future’
Problem Solving Tech
Students at the University, consisting of post-grads and entrepreneurs, focus on the study of these technologies alongside the world’s largest problems.
The aim is to allow thought patterns to develop between students and staff and develop methods by which new technologies can be leveraged together to have an impact.
‘…to assemble, educate and inspire a new generation of leaders who strive to understand and utilize exponentially advancing technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges.’
They really do mean humanity’s grand challenges. Their project 10⁹+ challenges the students to build business models, products and services utilizing technology to help one billion people within ten years.
An example of the kind of project born from student’s efforts is Naishio, would enlist converging technologies (bio plus nano plus solar) to desalinate seawater more efficiently.
Get in on the action
Of course, you do not need to attend Singularity University to generate world altering innovations, or dream of renting an apartment on Mars. Innovation is a mind-set.
If you have ambitions to make our world a better place and the spark of an idea for how to do that, contact The Founders’ Hive to help you take the steps to realising your dream.
If innovation is dead, then today’s newest entrepreneurs will rise as a phoenix from the ashes.