Dieter Brockmeyer, author of Pandemia's Box writes about innovation as a driver of economic and social change
Dieter Brockmeyer is a senior innovation journalist and co-founder of the Diplomatic World Institute. He is author of Pandemia’s Box, a book explaining the institute's concept of “Wholistic Innovation”.
When the Covid-19 Pandemic was announced it hit us unprepared. Nobody would have expected anything close to it. Well, it was a bit naïve, maybe. It has happened before, and we knew it would happen again.
The discussions around the question if our response to the virus was too strong will go on for years to come. I doubt we will ever get a clear answer. However, the joint impact of both viruses and response is clear. It was like opening Pandora’s Box. Our lives went to pieces.
We lost our freedom, our jobs, in some cases even our lives. However, it also provides the chance for a “Great Reset”, as World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab titles in his book from summer 2020. No matter if change will become as radical as he predicts: There surely is a window to reform our planet and to bring it on a sustainable track. It is nothing new, every crisis includes opportunity. We needed to think about our lives in new ways. We are in sudden need of innovation in a wide definition.
When we sat down at the Diplomatic World Institute shortly after its foundation in June of 2019 to talk about Innovation – pre-Covid-19 – we quickly realised that we needed a completely new definition. Now, almost two years later, it has become even more evident.
The Corona pandemic made us change our lifestyle, sped up change, and made it obvious that things needed to adapt. We accepted this challenge and that was when the term “Wholistic Innovation” was born. You also may talk about cross sector innovation because everything you do in one sector also has an (sometimes unintended) impact on other sectors. Innovation is not just new technology; however, it remains to be the main driver of economic and social change that will increase even more in the years to come.
Experts are certain we will be confronted with a period of tech-advancement as never seen in human history before. Blockchain technology will likely become the base for any transaction in business and private influencing us way beyond what we understand from crypto currencies today. Artificial Intelligence, AI, will make any action a lot easier but will also provide challenges we start to imagine. Moreover, quantum computing will increase the speed of computers, simultaneously creating exponential growth of knowledge and yet unknown security issues.
Laser technology was only the first outcome of the still young quantum physics. The old Greeks thought that there must be something like the smallest particle that is “undividable”, that is basically what “atom” means. We then had to find out that there were Electrons and Neutrons. But today we know that is not the end. After Quarks in quantum physics, we are talking now about strings, like very tiny guitar strings and everything oscillating. This is a completely different concept and we do not know yet where it is going to take us.
The future does not seem to get any easier to handle seeing all the challenges that will arise from the ongoing and speeding technical advancements. This means that also our societies will remain under stress, since change is becoming a permanent demand. The more important it will be to create a global order for a level playing field. I said this before and here it becomes evident once more. We must deal with the consequences and become aware of the connectivity of everything we do. Most importantly, we must accept that these are global challenges that we cannot tackle on our own. This is a collective effort if want to succeed. That is the only way to deal with it and to avoid losing control.