Want to change the world? In an article for the journal Innovations, Geoff Mulgan (exCEO of the UK’s Young Foundation and now Chief Exec of NESTA) has a list of areas where there’s a crying need for reinvention:
Where Severe Innovation Deficits Exist
– Ageing populations that require, for example, new ways of organizing pensions, care, mutual support, housing, urban design, mobility, and new methods of countering isolation.
– The growing diversity of countries and cities, which demands innovative ways of organizing schooling, language training, and housing, to avoid the risks of conflict and mutual resentment.
– The rising incidence of chronic diseases such as arthritis, depression, and diabetes. Some historically acute diseases (such as cancers and heart disease) are becoming chronic. It is widely acknowledged that the key solutions will have as much to do with social organization as with medical provision.
– Many of the behavioral problems that partly result from affluence are worsening, including obesity, bad diet, and inactivity, as well as addictions to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. None of these is easily addressed by traditional models.
– Difficult transitions to adulthood—there is a great need to help teenagers successfully navigate their way into more stable careers, relationships, and lifestyles.
– Crime and punishment in some countries (including the United Kingdom) show a new trend in which a majority of convicted criminals re-offend within two years of leaving prison—a striking pattern of failure.
– The mismatch between growing GDP and stagnating happiness (and declining real welfare according to some measures).
– The glaring challenges that surround climate change—how to reorganize cities, transport systems, and housing to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, and how to adapt to climate change that may already be irreversible.