“Climate change is this fiery pit of hell that I’ve been staring into for years, but I choose to be optimistic. Optimism is a choice that empowers positive action, rather than despairing inaction. Sometimes I feel like Gandalf pounding his staff into the bridge and saying, ‘You shall not pass!”
With all the craziness, it’s understandable if you missed the passing of Earth Day. But as you read Dr. Leslie Field’s interview, think about the parallels between Covid-19 and climate change. Experts’ warnings about the unthinkable danger of Covid-19 were only heeded once its grim impact became undeniable. Now, everyone is seeking and developing innovations that will get us through this mess, and keep us fortified against future disruptions.
Covid-19’s lessons have been costly. Similar bills are due for environmental degradation and climate change. But business and science have been working on those existential threats a long time. There are things we can start doing today to protect against fundamental disruption tomorrow. For instance, as Julia Goldstein’s piece explains, building high environmental standards into electronics will boost companies’ growth and resilience– while improving the outlook for the planet.
The Earth keeps turning. We keep innovating. Much will happen and things will change between now and Earth Day 2021. I’m curious what you think those changes to business and society will look like in the post-Covid-19 future. Respond to this email and let me know, with an emphasis on actionable innovation insights; we’d love to post your predictions on the blog, like Richard Hartung’s insights into the Singapore experience, below.
– Matt Ferguson
VP Innovation Services
Insights with Dr. Leslie Field, Founder and CTO of Ice911 Research
The pandemic pushed us into virtual offices following the northern hemisphere’s warmest winter on record. It’s a surreal coincidence. Eventually businesses worldwide will re-open and society will limp back to work, scars and all. But climate change will not have gone away. The reported decreases in air pollutants owing to global shutdowns and online commuting signify an interesting data point, not a real turning point. Covid-19 and climate change contain interrelated impacts and lessons that need to be understood by experts and taught to the masses.
Xinova Innovator, Julia Goldstein, PhD
“The drive toward making electronics smaller, faster, and cheaper needn’t take a back seat to making them cleaner and greener. Investors, consumers, and top innovator talent are flocking to tech companies whose high environmental metrics are conferring a competitive advantage. Creative strategies in materials selection, reuse, and recycling can pave the way to better environmental and financial results.”
COVID-19 is a problem that seems to change every day. While medical equipment and logistics tracking solutions are clear challenges that demand solutions, we know many other problems are arising from the pandemic’s direct and indirect impacts. Find those innovation gaps, define the problem, and submit an innovation challenge. Become an innovator who has chosen to join the fight.
CLOSING SOON: May 12, 2020
These are unprecedented times. Let’s document and understand this crisis together through our stories and ideas as innovators. They may help in unexpected ways. Submit your story or request an interview now, like Xinova Innovator, Kate Stephenson, PhD, on medical device innovation and supply chain management in the time of COVID-19.
“I don’t see there being an intense new period of product innovation in answer to the challenges posed by the pandemic so much as I think that the technologies and answers we already have will be put through extreme cycles of test and improvement.”
“Coronavirus cuts through red tape – The virus is apolitical and obeys no bureaucracy. So too should be the approach to tracking and fighting it.”
Chris Rothfuss, PhD, is the Senate Minority Leader of the Wyoming Legislature and a scientist through and through: chemical engineer, researcher, professor, analyst, consultant, and inventor. That makes him a unicorn in his day job as a politician. And it makes him wish he could tackle the problem with an engineering approach.
“Twelve years after blockchain’s rising from the ashes of the global financial crisis, I’m calling on the 2020 blockchain community to establish set criteria for how to use the term Blockchain. Providing clarity on this beautiful field will ensure its fruitful, rather than frivolous, utilization. And, it will certainly help me avoid future real estate endeavors cloaked in the guise of blockchain”
– Eyal Shani, Xinova innovator and blockchain expert.
Richard shares his insights into Singapore’s progression from model leadership to yet another country on lockdown in its response to the pandemic. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as Richard highlights local innovation that’s making a global impact. An AI company, for instance, adapted its marketing tool for Covid-19 contact tracing.
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