I’ll be back in Dubai next week for what is describes as the “World’s Largest Brainstorming”
The Summit on the Global Agenda will take place from 20 to 22 November 2009 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in partnership with the Government of Dubai. The Summit will bring together over 700 Global Agenda Council Members, representing some of the most innovative and influential thinkers from over 90 countries – including 300 business leaders, 240 academics, 100 leaders from civil society, NGOs and think tanks, over 50 leaders from international organizations and 30 public figures. Together they will address key issues on the global agenda.
It is an interesting project, to bring together people from across business and society and break them into over seventy different councils looking at everything from Emerging Technologies (my council) to Illegal Trade and everything in between. The overall aim is to bring together “the world’s foremost thought leaders” (blush) to develop an agenda for what is happening in their own area of expertise, and then interact with all the other councils to see how the big picture fits together.
Last year (see the reports here) we discussed nanotechnologies in some detail, but came to the conclusion that the structural issues surrounding it (public acceptance, funding mechanisms, safety, long term R&D strategies etc.) were not unique to nanotech and were indeed common to most emerging technologies, whether synthetic biology or even geoengineering. One challenge this year will be to see how this fits into the bigger picture, and interacts with the issues being discussed by other councils such as Innovation, Strategic Foresight, Corporate Governance, and Sustainable Energy.
However the major challenge will be moving from discussing issues to taking action to address them. In our case, how can we effectively deploy science and technology to address some of the worlds major problems? In ten days we should at least have an action plan!