Innovation & Tech

327 articles

What Role Can Blockchain Play in Smart Cities?

As city planners make urban growth more efficient and less costly, blockchain has a transformative – but specific – power.

Blockchain can do some amazing things. It pushes the frontier of how we exchange and use data. It opens up new possibilities for how we do business and how we respond to exceptions in a normal process flow. But it doesn’t solve every problem. If you live in a city, you’re familiar with the need […]

How Millennials Can Make Globalization 4.0 Work for All

Here are five practical priorities we can focus on today to prepare for tomorrow.

Like many millennials, I spend my morning commute sifting through texts, emails and headlines on my phone. The news offers an odd blend of learning about robot backpacks that support remote collaboration and reading about the millions of Venezuelans fleeing poverty and violence. It’s a daily reminder of how divided and unequal the world still is. As […]

Using Data and Analytics to Combat Human Trafficking

By effectively sharing information with those in the anti-trafficking community, we can get closer to ending modern-day slavery.

After serving as Deputy Director of Intelligence for the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency – similar to the FBI in the United States – I found that “retiring” really wasn’t an option for me. I couldn’t walk away from the fight against human trafficking and other forms of modern slavery. It’s just too important. And […]

This Is What a Smart City Should Do for Its People

Citizens, businesses and governments must work together to develop the tools to help cities become truly smart and sustainable.

We are living in interesting times. As Charles Dickens might put it, it is perhaps the best of times for tech companies. The digital revolution is mind-blowing. But for some people, it could be the worst of times, given the global crises and challenges for humanity. One thing is certain: We live in a world […]

Is Virtual Reality Better than the Real World for Learning?

We must equip people to be more resilient in a tech-fueled future.

I’m not a virtual reality expert or a gamer, but I am very curious about the experiences VR offers, especially when it comes to learning. This led me to attend a panel on leading-edge behaviors from the virtual world led by Toshi Hoo, Emerging Media Lab Director at the Institute for the Future (IFTF). We […]

Tired of Meaningless Conversations? AI Can Help

How technology can boost our emotional intelligence.

When was the last time you spent hours deep in conversation with someone, one-on-one? Was it over the phone, in a coffee shop or at dinner? How many of these quality conversations have you had recently? Conversations matter beyond day-to-day family life and friendships  –  they are crucial in the workplace. Whether it’s a conversation […]

The Power to Make a Better Future (for Billions)

You have unprecedented access to the tools and technologies needed to make better decisions about everything you design and make.

As a member of the next generation, are you worried about the future? Are you worried about robots and increasing levels of automation impacting your life and livelihood? Given the headlines these days, this is understandable. I, however, am more optimistic than ever about the future – one with 10 billion people on Earth, most living […]

Mobile Technologies for Factory Management

How a generational shift is fueling the factory of the future.

Editor’s note: The manufacturing industry as we know it has changed. Gone are the days of rigid supply chains – today’s manufacturers are smart, nimble and customer-focused. This week on Longitudes, we’re taking a look at how technology and people are changing the way we make the world. Factory automation continues to be a driving force […]

Delivering on the Promise of Digital Transformation

How smart, targeted investments in the digital space are forever altering the physical world of tomorrow.

Mobile phones and tablets. Social media and cloud computing. Big data and blockchain. Augmented and virtual reality. The internet and the Internet of Things. These technologies aren’t brand new. But as they have developed and proliferated, their potential to help businesses become more innovative, agile and customer-centered is clear. Companies around the globe are scrambling […]

5 IoT Applications Retailers Are Using Today

From RFID to the smart store, retailers are taking advantage of the Internet of Things.

At its most basic, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected physical objects embedded with sensors. IoT allows these devices to communicate, analyze and share data about the physical world around us via networks and cloud-based software platforms. In the case of retail, the “things” can include RFID inventory tracking chips, traditional in-store […]

A Tech-Fueled Approach to Collective Problem Solving

The optimal use of collective intelligence enables bottom-up decisions.

There are more people learning foreign languages on the Duolingo platform than there are people learning foreign languages in the whole U.S. public school system. Designed by Carnegie Mellon professor Luis von Ahn, DuoLingo has reduced the time it takes to achieve basic mastery of a foreign language to 34 hours, earning it 200 million active users […]

The Right Way for an Established Firm to Partner with a Startup

One of the great ironies of digital transformation is that disproportionate impact can so quickly emerge from seemingly tiny steps.

For innovation-hungry legacy firms, partnering with a startup can be appealing. Relatively small sums of time and money can quickly yield generous returns. These partnerships can go beyond good results and energize organizations that have become too comfortable or complacent with everyday routines. In return, the startups typically get valuable references or valued customers. “Startnership” […]

Reimagining the Future of Making

The world now has bigger problems to solve, which will require more human-machine collaboration and creativity.

Humanity inevitably needs, desires and demands more. At the same time, it must also confront the reality of less – fewer natural resources, less space and fewer skilled construction and manufacturing workers than the world needs. But while resources and skilled labor are in short supply, the global population is increasing (to nearly 10 billion people […]

7 Key Challenges for the Future of ASEAN – and How to Solve Them

Home to a growing market of more than 600 million consumers, with 125,000 new internet users every day, ASEAN is brimming with opportunity.

The ASEAN region, made up of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, boasted a combined GDP of roughly $2.77 trillion as of last year, with predictions for enviable GDP growth rates of around 5.3 percent per year through 2019. Here are seven challenges the bloc faces in promoting […]

5 Trends Driving the Sustainable Fashion Revolution

We need bottom-up actions and solutions developed with a next-generation mentality.

Recent trends and events continue to call for a fashion revolution. We need to move the fashion industry away from the take-make-dispose consumption of clothes that are often produced in inhumane conditions and affect the environment in more damaging ways than most people realize. This issue has been described in previous World Economic Forum blog […]

Contextual Engagement: Moving from Brains to Hearts (and Wallets)

How the LEAP approach – listening, empathizing, analyzing and propelling – can build relevant communication with customers.

My favorite marketing book, one I read every few years, was authored in 1999. No, that date is not a typo. It was 1999. The internet was entering its “tweens,” the first downloadable content for mobile phone (ringtones) had just made its debut and the dominant marketing activity was “spray and pray” – direct mailing […]

What Is a Blockchain Token?

Tokens could outsource their ownership accounting systems, attaching them to preexisting blockchain ledgers.

People are just becoming acquainted with the idea of digital money in the form of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, where transactions are recorded on a secure distributed database called a blockchain. And now along comes a new concept: the blockchain-based token, which I’ve been following as a blockchain researcher and teacher of courses about cryptocurrency and blockchain tokens. […]

Blockchain Will Make Carbon Visible for Everybody

While carbon reporting remains a significant hurdle for organizations, one nascent technology offers a possible solution.

To understand, and report on, an organization’s carbon footprint is a complex undertaking — to say the least. First, you must determine what drives your carbon footprint. For most multi-site organizations, these influences are vast, including both direct impacts from company-owned facilities and indirect impacts from suppliers and distributors. Then you must run a scenario […]

Back to the Future: Flying Cars Are Becoming a Reality

Flying taxis, supersonic flight and Hyperloop, among other innovations, have the transportation world buzzing.

In 2011, Peter Thiel confronted his Silicon Valley peers with this observation: “We were promised flying cars, but instead we got 140-character tweets.” Thiel wanted to know when the long-awaited innovations of the future were going to see the light of day. It seems that the future has made its comeback this past year. All […]

3 Reasons Marketing Disruption Will Work for Your Brand

Big data, machine learning and cloud computing are disrupting decades-old marketing practices.

Technology is changing everything – from manufacturing and construction to design and engineering – and it’s changing everything at what feels like a rapidly increasing pace. If you’re a professional in one of those industries, you know this all too well. From the tools to design, build and make things to the demands of customers, today’s […]

Electric Vehicles Are Changing the World, and They’re Just Getting Started

The electrification of transportation is one of the big stories of 2018 – and beyond.

Global interest in climate change – its effects on the environment and society more broadly – is at an all-time high. Countries around the world are increasingly acknowledging the shift that’s needed from a fossil fuel-driven economy to one that is sustainable, green and attempts to mitigate climate change. Transportation is one area where this […]

Making Data Work for Women

The private sector can leverage its influence and reach to highlight the unmet needs for women across supply chains.

As Melinda Gates put it in a speech at the 2016 Women Deliver conference: “We can’t close the gender gap without first closing the data gap.” Throughout history, women have often been uncounted and therefore invisible, and increasingly, the international community is taking notice. Organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the OECD, UN Women, Women Deliver and the World Bank, have […]

Cancer as an Information Science Challenge

The first step in making cancer a manageable condition is translating biological information into usable data.

As a former trauma coordinator for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, I know what it’s like to be on the front lines of patient care. It was perhaps most personal when my cousin was diagnosed with bone cancer. As a patient in the hospital in which I worked, I watched as doctors tried everything they knew […]

3D-Printed Parts Put Through Their Paces

This company is finding new, fast ways to spot hidden flaws in 3D-printed parts – with technology seamlessly embedded in assembly lines.

The land that is now the state of Ohio spent millions of years beneath a sea teeming with prehistoric aquatic life, making it fertile ground for today’s fossil hunters. One particularly rich area is a limestone and shale hillock just outside Cincinnati called Trammel Fossil Park. Every day, amateur archaeologists equipped with hammers and buckets […]

Can We Unlock the Power of the Innovation System for Good?

How innovators, investors, managers and policymakers can come together to make change.

Can business save the Earth? The answer depends on a broad system of forces – forces that generate new inventions, successfully commercialize new products out of these inventions, provide capital to support commercialization and scaling and provide value to a wide number of customers. Each of these forces is driven by the idiosyncratic ingenuity and […]

5 Technologies that Will Forever Change Global Trade

Public and private stakeholders must work together to establish a technology framework that unleashes global trade's potential.

International trade has dominated the global headlines recently. Much of the discussions have been focused on the threat of a trade war, the tit-for-tat tariffs and the health of the global trade order. While extremely important, these conversations are missing a brighter side of international trade – how innovative technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution […]

Wanted: AI Leaders

Leaders who can inspire people to design a better future for all of us should be front and center in the AI evolution.

News and predictions about artificial intelligence (AI) are everywhere. Technology forecasts span the gamut from AI ushering in world peace to machines triggering the demise of humanity.  Amid these predictions, the terms automation and autonomy are used interchangeably. Governments and businesses alike are funding AI projects that resemble the plots of Hollywood science fiction films. And the […]

That’s One Smart Flowerpot

This entrepreneur is harnessing the power of plants to address a chronically overlooked health hazard.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then it’s fitting that eco-entrepreneurs like Paolo Ganis would partner with Mother Nature herself to create environmentally friendly products. Paolo and his Italian company, Laboratori Fabrici, are helping consumers fight dangerous indoor air pollution using nature’s greatest defense against toxins – plants. Paolo and his team created Clairy, […]

How Tech Is Driving a Fourth Wave of Environmentalism

Sustainability is not just some nice-to-have byproduct of innovation – it's the goal.

In any era, the hard work of environmental progress requires the best available tools. Today those tools include technological innovations that are giving corporations and NGOs alike new capabilities and supercharging the partnerships between them. Sensors, data analytics, machine learning and blockchain are just some of the breakthroughs driving business growth as well as environmental […]

Rethinking the Fire Extinguisher

An entrepreneur's quest to build fire extinguishers that are functional — and beautiful.

In France, most homeowners don’t own a fire extinguisher, and if they do, they stow it away in a cabinet or closet. The safety item that should be perhaps most accessible is often the most difficult to find. French fire safety expert Rodolphe Gimenez wants to change that. “Fires are the second cause of mortality […]