This year marks the fifth anniversary of the beginning of the global financial crisis--a crisis that is changing the global economy just as significantly as the collapse of communism in 1989 and the OPEC oil crisis of 1973...
What does that mean as we plan for the year ahead? As a starting point, your organization should ask itself this: where are we looking for our future growth and impact? Are our priorities shaped by the growth patterns of the past, or by the growth trajectories of the future? Understanding the dynamics of this major global change can ensure that our organizations stay relevant.
Specifically, the resource impacts of the fast-growing global middle classes demand an urgent acceleration of innovation. We know the planet cannot sustain an additional four billion people who replicate the current patterns of production and consumption in the West. Right now, much of our innovative energy is spent on coercing people to consume more things they don’t need. Our priorities need to be redirected so that we develop the groundbreaking innovations in technology, business, and society that will make economic growth sustainable. For example, even small innovations in choice architecture--such as changing the size of household recycling bins and trash cans--have large impacts when implemented at scale. In every part of our economy, we urgently need to identify and implement such innovations.