In the Green Industrial Revolution Woodrow Clark and Grant Cooke describe the environmental, social, economic, and political forces and some of the critical technologies that are driving a third global industrial transformation. These technologies will shape the direction of Planet Earth in the 21st century. In an earlier book, Partners in Prosperity—Strategic Industries for the U.S. and Japan (McGraw Hill, 1985) I documented how at specific historical times and places certain economically “strategic” technologies and industries served as catalysts to accelerate innovation, raise productivity, and stimulate economic growth, and produce new and more creative jobs. The Green Industrial Revolution is constellating, with compounding impact, breakthroughs in science and technology that have the potential to support a new era of global prosperity.
One intersection between The Green Industrial Revolution and my present work is the question of how to raise global literacy and consciousness about the Green Industrial Revolution? Another is how to build a corps of millions of green innovators and entrepreneurs who can imaginatively solve global problems collaboratively? A Smart Explorers Wheel introduced in my 2013 book Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorer’s Mind offers one useful approach. In fact, the convergence of advanced Information Communications Technologies through this new learning-problem-solving platform will introduce an additional strategic capability that can accelerate breakthroughs in the Green Industrial Revolution. Throughout history many other strategic industries in their time, for example, displayed a similar converge with communications technologies. The canals and railroads in 18th and 19th century America and Japan’s post WWII “Trigger Industries” (semiconductor-computer-telecommunications-robotics) are good examples.
The Future Embedded in the Present
The Smart Explorers Wheel Platform is best viewed from several perspectives. As depicted on the home page of the Explorers Wheel website the Wheel gathers and integrates the creative energy of an Explorers Community around a central theme or inventive challenge. In the present example the focal theme could be measurably and rapidly to enable millions of people around the world almost overnight to achieve literacy about regarding all the critical challenges, issues, and available resources for the Green Industrial Revolution. The center of the Wheel– the “Explorers Mind”–is surrounded by eight realms or prisms. They are the entry points for the Explorer’s Journey. The realms are: the Past, Wisdom, Beauty, Life Force, Discovery-Invention-Innovation, Humanity, the Networked Brain, and the Future. The explorer enters within any realm that most strikes her or his fancy. As the Wheel begins to spin the explorer starts to discover interesting “intertidal” connections between the various realms. The “intertidal” is derived from the zone of greatest biological fertility where the ocean’s tides flow in and out.
In my work globally (see short bio below) over the last four decades, I have discovered this same liminal zone at the border of consciousness and the unconscious processes, where the barriers between conventional disciplines and fields collapse. This is also a fertile terrain of the human mind, where new perspectives, discoveries, and inventions can suddenly appear. The Explorers Wheel helps to train the Explorer’s Mind through the iterative process of consciously and continuously discovering often surprising connections.
Recent scientific discoveries suggest that this explorers’ process of finding connections may itself actually generate new neuropathways. The human brain is an extraordinary neuroplastic organ, and its potential for systematic applications to the frontier of a Green Industrial Revolution is virgin territory. The logical implication is that each member of a GIR Explorers Community, and the Explorers Community as a whole, will become smarter, more creative, resourceful, and resilient. At least this seems a plausible hypothesis. It invites rigorous scientific confirmation.
Today’s Applications of the Explorers’ Wheel
I believe the most important discoveries and inventions in the Green Industrial Revolution will be generated by systematically and collaboratively harvesting the intertidal connections between narrowly siloed conventional fields and academic disciplines. A particularly important application of this principle will be to accelerate breakthroughs at “choke points” between important areas of concern—for example, food security, clean water, and sustainable energy—in order to ensure that the solutions in one domain do not create secondary negative consequences in another.
For example, if not approached systemically a breakthrough in food security could result in wasting huge amounts of available fresh water; a breakthrough in desalination could result in pollution of coastal waters and the consumption of huge amounts of energy. The Explorers Wheel encourages systemic thinking and systemic solutions. As the explorer ventures more deeply, he or she may reach an interesting frontier of discovery: the realms are sufficiently broad while bounded that they provide an effective framework and process to connect every issue of importance in the Green Industrial Revolution with every other.
The other important dimension of the Explorers Wheel platform is that it is “smart”. In other words, it learns 24/7 along with and about its community of explorers. Story telling is the engine of an Explorers Wheel. The Explorers Wheel platform harvests these stories along with the embedded metaphors, images, and idiosyncratic ways of thinking of the millions of members of GIR-Smart Collaborative Innovation Network (GIR-SCOIN). The more actively engaged the members, the smarter the GIR-SCOIN becomes. The result is a new kind of “psychographic data base” which can be licensed as a valuable asset to Charter Sponsors who share the vision and values of the GIR. The Explorers Wheel in this way offers a powerful means to contribute to the financial sustainability of GIR-SCOIN.
The GIR-SCOIN platform is designed to incorporate additional elements. Virtually all of these elements are already developed, tested, and proven and await integration. They include:
New processes for discovery and invention engineering and collaborative innovation embodied in a Discovery/Invention/Innovation Engine which can accelerate breakthroughs for humanity virtually on demand.
A collaborative IP model to facilitate collaboration including advanced processes and frameworks for the negotiation, structuring, management, measurement, and conflict resolution of strategic alliances and networks.
A new model of Artful Negotiation based on the principle of integrity.
A Translation Engine which enables domain experts and creative amateurs (“citizen scientists”) to communicate and work effectively together.
A Trust Engine which enables recipients to assess the degree of reliability of the data they are receiving.
A Collaborative Competition platform that will support X-Prize-like competitions for breakthroughs for humanity.
Advanced Smart Search components so that the platform learns about each participant and supports his/her discovery process.
A Wisdom Expert System which enables users to encode the “wisdom genome” of the great figures of history living and dead across all fields and turn them into mentors for our daily lives.
A way of integrating Big Data, Big Mechanism, and Big Heart (described below) with particular interest in humanitarian applications.
A new approach to online learning.
Within three years or less the Explorers Wheel Platform can become the online Brain of the Green Industrial Revolution.
A Post Green Industrial Revolution for the 21st Century: The Alignment and Integration of Heart, Mind, and Hand.
The Green Industrial Revolution will catalyze breakthroughs in science and technology that hold the promise, at least in theory, to usher in an unprecedented era of global abundance and prosperity. However, my observations over the past fifty years raise one profound concern: I do not believe that technology alone divorced from an expanded consciousness will achieve this result. According to visionaries like Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity is Near) and Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind) within the next 30-50 years the Human Brain and its artifact, the Mind, will merge with computers, conferring countless benefits on suffering humanity, including a form of bionic and digital immortality. I do not accept the reductionist proposition that all we dream and are can be reduced to bits and bytes governed by the implacable force of Moore’s Law.
In fact, the deep problems of human hatred, greed, arrogance, cruelty, and selfishness will remain; and even worse, the new green technologies with all their promise may well, if not tempered by the angels of our better nature—generosity, kindness, and unconditional love—can easily be turned to devilish purpose. Today the world must deal with the “Devil’s Equation”: nuclear arms + hatred + time acceleration> attention deficit= Apocalypse. Is this not the present challenge presented by despotic regimes like ISIS and North Korea?
The critical question then is how most effectively to release the Promethean power of Mind but temper and guide it by the wisdom, foresight, balance, resilience, and generosity of the Heart? Will not all the scientific and technological wonders humanity has thus far produced pale in comparison when, after so many millennia, we can discover a way to reconcile and harness the power of Mind and Heart together? In my view the Green Industrial Revolution, which is still in its infancy, is ideally suited to build a foundation for what may prove the 4th Great Advance in Human Evolution: the Alignment and Integration of Heart, Mind, and Hand.
Smart Explorers Wheels: Next Steps
Currently our team is well along in designing and planning the launch of several pilot Smart Explorers Wheels during the next twenty-four months. Some applications most relevant to the Green Industrial Revolution include:
- Smart Creative Sustainable Cities
- Accelerating breakthroughs at the chokepoints of clean water, food security, and sustainable energy
- A California-China Solar Partnership
Consider one application in particular which is rapidly being implemented (2014-2015) – A Smart Platform for a new U.S.-China Trade and Innovation Center. This will become the preeminent action-oriented think tank of its kind in the world focusing on food security, clean tech, water, sustainable energy, investment liberalization, trade facilitation, and e-commerce.
This platform will include a breakthrough in instantaneous voice recognition in English/Chinese available via SKYPE and smart phones that will enable millions of green innovators and entrepreneurs inside and outside China to collaborative effectively together. With adequate financing and the effective collaboration of the major companies that have already developed the core technical components the app can be delivered to market within the next 18 months (mid-2015).
Summary: Not the End and More Than a Beginning
A Smart Explorers Wheel can contribute significantly to the realization of the goals of the Global Industrial Revolution in the following ways:
- It will provide a platform to raise global literacy and consciousness by integrating the next generation tools, methods, and resources of social media, smart search, crowd intelligence, Big Data and Big Mechanism in a new model of online learning and education.
- It will help to accelerate breakthrough discoveries, inventions, and innovations by providing a collaborative platform for technology developers, users, financiers, and many others who will play a critical role in delivering effective innovations to the market place.
- In time it will combine instantaneous voice recognition technology which will dismantle the language and cultural barriers between nations, and ultimately change forever the master-slave relationship between humans and machines.
- It will provide a crucible for Heart to play a crucially needed role in People-to-People (Heart-to-Heart) Exchanges both online and in the outside world.
- It offers a new revenue model deriving from license fees based on a continuously enhanced psychographic data, generated by the story telling of members of the GIR-SCOIN.
- As Woodrow Clark and Grant Cooke ably document, the Green Industrial Revolution is already upon us. Millions of global citizens from every nation and culture are exuberant to engage in this new age of green exploration and innovation. When Heart becomes the source code of this Revolution, a Great Next Transformation will occur, for it must as the hourglass of our suffering planet to change course is rapidly running out.
Julian Gresser, Chairman, Alliances for Discovery is an international attorney, inventor, social entrepreneur, and professional negotiator. He was twice Mitsubishi Visiting Professor at the Harvard Law School and has been a visiting professor at MIT, Beijing University, and Doshisha University in Kyoto Japan. He has served as a senior advisor to the U.S. State Department, the Prime Minister’s Office of Japan, the European Commission (where he coached its Japanese negotiating teams), and the World Bank. During the past 25 years he has trained hundreds of senior executives around the world in his integrity-based system of Artful Negotiation, described in his recent book Piloting Through Chaos—The Explorer’s Mind (Bridge 21Publications, August 2013). Julian Gresser is the author of Environmental Law in Japan(MIT Press, 1981), Partners in Prosperity—Strategic Industries for the U.S. and Japan (McGraw Hill 1985) among other works. He is deeply involved in developing a global response to the unfolding tragedy from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan. (www.explorerswheel.com). One of his most exciting current ventures is to establish a unique action-oriented 21st century think tank the U.S.-China Center on Trade and Innovation.
© Copyright, Julian Gresser, August 2014, Santa Barbara, California; All rights reserved. The author grants permission to Woodrow W. Clark II, Ph.D. to reproduce this case as part of the Appendix for his forthcoming book, The Green Industrial Revolution (Elsevier Press, 2015). Dr. Clark was one of the contributing scientists to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC), which as an organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2007 along with Al Gore and his team for the documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth”.