Terraform Earth

We need a Climate Change Design Challenge Forum

Scary Idea: Technology learns 10,000 times faster than you do (according to John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation).

For example, the silicon chip industry has remained consistent with Moore’s Law, doubling almost 30 times the concentration of transistors per chip per $1000 since its invention. That means that today’s chip is about 10 billion times better than it was 50 years ago.

Since we designed our technology to get us into this ever-increasing climate disaster, maybe we should start designing our technology to get us out of it. So how do we do that? We start by specifying what is needed. Industry calls such specifications design challenges. They usually seek them out on their own, but we need solutions faster. So let’s start collecting and voting on the best ideas for improving the situation.

There are a few advantages for the marketplace specifying what is needed. One is that the design challenges remain in the public space. Patents won’t keep other companies, governments and individuals from coming up with new, better solutions. And solutions can be low budget enough to be accessible to the poor and developing country populations.

Another advantage would be shifting of some of the market research out of the hands of the short-term profit oriented corporations and into the hands of the community. We can ask for solutions that won’t be huge sellers in Walmart in the next quarter. (See Chris Anderson’s notions on ‘the Long Tail’ and ‘Free’ –
http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3328.html )

Our technology development cycles will seek to solve these design challenges, treating the victims of the unresolved issues as an unserved market eager for a solution in the form of a product or service. Why? Because these are ripe market opportunities. As Vinod Khosla, the founder of Sun Microsystems and Khosla Ventures said, “No one will pay you to solve a non-problem.” “Every big problem is a big opportunity.”
(video clip: http://edcorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=26)

A third advantage is that the community would do it’s own marketing for the best solutions. A voting process would show companies and inventors both what the solutions were the most demanded (what they should be working on) and which solutions were the best (how each solution performs). This would encourage industry, technologists, and Do-It-Yourself types to design better solutions faster.

Google has made something of a start along this process. Their “10ToThe100” contest (which just stopped accepting submissions, dammit!) is looking for the best ideas based upon how many would be helped. They are in a narrowing phase right now and will offer the 100 best ideas for public voting on Jan. 27th. So make sure you vote.

I missed the deadline, so I will post a few of my ideas over the next few days. And I make no apologies if they are a bit out of reach of current technology. Remember these are design challenges, and technology is a fast learner.

10-22-08   >>>Dan

References & Inspirations:

~ Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School, Author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, and Disrupting Class
Podcast: http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail135.html
Book purchase: The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business (Collins Business Essentials)
The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns

~ John Smart of the Acceleration Studies Foundation
Site: http://www.accelerating.org/
Podcasts: http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail729.html

~ William McDonough of William McDonough + Partners, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), and author of Cradle to Cradle
Site: http://www.mcdonough.com/
Podcast: http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail3142.html
Book purchase: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things

~Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems and Khosla Ventures
video clip: http://edcorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=26

~ Chris Anderson, editor of Wired magazine, author of The Long Tail and Free (being published in ’09… for FREE!)
Book purchase: Long Tail, The, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * PatyHingle says:

    President-elect Barack Obama delivered a speech today, January 8, 2009. Obama discussed the current economic crisis and urged Congress to act quickly in passing a stimulus bill, warning that the recession could become
    (Video + Transcript)
    Infrastructure? What is he thinking? The US has some of the best infrastructure in the world. Anyone who has traveled can see that. Only Europe has better… and not ALL of Europe. Not only that, but there are 250,000 people out of work on Wall Street, and Obama is going to hand them all a shovel? …NONSENS !

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
    • * terraformearth says:

      Yes, infrastructure.

      Our roads are degrading, especially where they are most used, resulting in expensive car repair for all those working commuters. We could put some of them on high speed trains, light rail, or rapid transit bus systems with some investment into the infrastructure; local investment that employs lots of voters, increases local tax revenues, and reduces CO2 emissions.

      Infrastructure, like the levees that need improvement along the Sacramento and Mississippi. Remember Katrina? It’s open to debate which lost the Republicans more votes: the Iraq occupation or botched disaster prevention & relief in New Orleans. And we just had a bunch more flooding this last year.

      No the jobs shouldn’t go to the unemployed financial elites who made their money taking advantage of the less informed Joe Average. The jobs should go to those with less wealth, who are harmed most during recessions. Let’s retrain them to be Green Collar Workers, as Van Jones of Green For All says.

      | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  2. * BoonCyncnaw says:

    Good writing – i will come back again soon!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 7 months ago

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: