Dis­rup­tive In­no­va­tion

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New ways of us­ing tech­nol­ogy to change be­hav­iour and our sys­tems of pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion of­fer the po­ten­tial for sup­port­ing the re­gen­er­a­tion and preser­va­tion of nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments, rather than creat­ing hid­den costs in the form of ex­ter­nal­i­ties. The changes are his­toric in terms of their size, speed and scope.

While the pro­found un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the devel­op­ment and adop­tion of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies means that we do not yet know how the trans­for­ma­tions driven by this in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion will un­fold, their com­plex­ity and in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness across sec­tors im­ply that all stake­hold­ers of global so­ci­ety — gov­ern­ments, busi­ness, academia and civil so­ci­ety — have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to work to­gether.

Shared un­der­stand­ing is par­tic­u­larly crit­i­cal if we are to shape a col­lec­tive fu­ture that re­flects com­mon ob­jec­tives and val­ues. We must have a com­pre­hen­sive and glob­ally shared view of how tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing our lives and those of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, and how it is re­shap­ing the eco­nomic, so­cial, cul­tural and hu­man con­text in which we live.

The changes are so pro­found that, from the per­spec­tive of hu­man his­tory, there has never been a time of greater prom­ise or po­ten­tial peril. My con­cern, how­ever, is that de­ci­sion-mak­ers are too of­ten caught in tra­di­tional, lin­ear think­ing or too ab­sorbed by im­me­di­ate con­cerns to think strate­gi­cally about the forces of dis­rup­tion and in­no­va­tion.

From “The Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion”

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