The conference title of the International Summit of Cooperatives is ‘The Power of Innovation’, with the question of how co-operatives can embrace and lead innovation running as the main theme through the event.
In a keynote presentation at the Summit, business innovation author Peter Diamandis offered delegates a vision of how technology is changing the world.
Developments in – among other things – data gathering and analysis, the opening up of information across the web, faster technology and artificial intelligence will, he suggests, “allow for innovations that will be able to meet the basic water, energy, food, education and health needs of humanity and lead to a world of abundance within our lifetime.”
The author of Abundance: the Future is Better Than You Think and a prominent proponent of the view that technological innovation can fix world problems, Mr Diamandis said: “Technology is changing everything. A world of abundance where every problem we have will, I believe, be solved in the 20 or 30 years.”
He added that this age of abundance will, in part, be characterised by co-operation. Not only will we see “the democratisation of information” online, he said, but new developments too.
He cited the example of crowdfunding, in which organisations appeal directly to customers and supporters to fund product development. “The crowd can see a beautiful idea and say I want to support you in that,” he said, predicting that shared forms of ownership are likely to be on rise: “In the future you may not own a car, you’ll own access to a car.”
Mr Diamandis urged co-operatives to adapt their thinking in light of these technological changes and to embrace technological innovation. He warned co-operatives that “if your organisation doesn’t disrupt itself” with the use of new technology, “someone else will”, and that large organisations cannot simply look inside themselves for innovation but need to open up to the ideas outside.
- For more updates from the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives, click here