6th– 9th November 2017 saw the humungous gathering in Lisbon, Portugal, of over 60,000 people from over 170 countries, for one of the world’s largest technology conferences, Web Summit.
Creators, entrepreneurs, researchers, enablers and others from many different walks of life flocked to share and explore how technology can be used to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. More than 1,000 phenomenal speakers took to stage to discuss technologies from blockchain and virtual and augmented reality, to robots and quantum computing, in addressing matters including food production, mobility, waste, health, income security, fashion, culture and climate change.
A strong international appetite came through for how we can use technology to better impact our societies and environment positively – particularly, in transforming our cities and industry to be greener and smarter tomorrow. This is what the Geovation Greener, Smarter Communities and Cities Challenge is all about tackling!
Mixed with great entrepreneurial spirit – with a massive number of social and environmental enterprise start-ups attending the conference (and those thinking to be!) – this certainly got cooking many incredible ideas!
Influential stakeholders now recognise the world has finite resources and along with the–power of the people, are raising their voices to support a ‘circular economy’ approach. This transcends our traditional “take, make and dispose” industrial model to one that is restorative and regenerative of our natural resources – for us to achieve sustainable societies.
“You can’t separate environmental, social and economic issues” – Kathleen McLaughlin, Chief Sustainability Officer & President, Walmart Foundation, Walmart
“Markets will eventually value green as going green will eventually be a key driver of growth” – Peter Lacy, Global Managing Director – Growth, Strategy and Sustainability, Accenture
“The green business is the good business and you can at the same time, make money and do good” – António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General
“There is only one resource that is not constrained in the world and that is YOU!” – Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental & Cities Strategist, Microsoft
The question now, for tech innovators – is: how can our new technologies play a part in smartly helping us achieve these goals?
For the Geovation Challenge, our question is: rather than diminishing our natural green, blue and grey assets, how can we use them far more effectively to build greener, smarter communities and cities? And how can location data and technology be used as ingredients to help achieve this?
With continuous interest at Web Summit in tech enterprises becoming more purpose-driven, Al Gore – former Vice President of USA, now chairman of Generation Investment Management and famously known for his activist campaign ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ – brought this motivation inspiringly home. Speaking at the close of Web Summit, Al Gore openly recruited the tech innovation community to help drive the “Sustainable Revolution” in solution to the climate crisis, which is so intricately linked with other issues in society.
We’ve got the problems (there are plenty of them! – see the full Geovation Challenge problem themes), we’ve got powerful tech that could be ideal tools for building a solution; how do we now fix these problems to solutions and execute them? What data about where people and things are, and where events happen, can help pull these parts together?
Gore said: “Our world is in a sustainability revolution that has the magnitude of the industrial revolution and the speed and precision of the digital revolution.” Gore champions entrepreneurs, start-ups and technologists already making a huge difference, and encourages the tech industry that it has the tools for the potential to do even more, if we use our will to act.
“Will… is in itself a renewable resource” – Al Gore
If you’re inspired to use location data along with technology to build a sustainability enterprise, apply to the Geovation Challenge for support in building your idea!
Deadline: 12 noon 29 November 2017