I’ve recently been reading Peter Diamandis’ book Abundance. Its perhaps the most positive rendition of human progress you will find, and its given me some ideas.
It’s full of great examples of how the human race is tackling the issues that it faces. Issues such as scarcity of food, water, education, medical care and more. It makes you aware of lots of projects and inventions that are and will change the world.
Peter discusses the domino affect that solving the most fundamental issues will have. For example, solving the water crisis will help alleviate world hunger, relieve poverty, lower the global burden of disease, slow population growth and help preserve the environment. Quite the knock on effect!
As Peter describes it:
“Water is merely one example of this interdependent phenomenon. The solutions to all of our grand challenges are similarly stacked and toppling any of these dominoes sets off a positive chain reaction”
Perhaps what I was most surprised about was the plethora of ways in which the human race is making strides in solving global issues. Likely they can also be found within the confines of day to day literature such as newspapers, but you’d have to wade through the reports on terrorism, murders and other nasty stuff before you got to them.
At the same time as reading this book I’ve been reflecting on the work that I do. For the last couple of years I’ve been heavily involved in internet marketing. Whilst there’s nothing wrong, per se, with the endeavour. The impact that it has on the world is relatively minimal, at least in the manner in which I’m involved.
As Elon Musk describes in Ashlee Vance’s recent biography on him:
“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads”
So, if we don’t dedicate our time to that… what would be better? That’s the question I’m asking myself.
There’s a lot of big problems out there, and a lot of different angles with which to solve them.
What one really wants is to find the juncture between most effective thing they can do to improve the world, their personal skillset and their areas of interest.
But what if you don’t know all the world issues… or the effect that solving them could have? That knowledge is an important piece of the puzzle – and one I see as lacking currently, at least in an easily digestible format.
The next question becomes, what companies are working on these problems? There’s a cool service called Startup List, listing startups by geographical location. If you’re unsure of what startups are in your area… it’s a great place to start.
What appears also to be lacking, is a way to map the startups solving these problems onto “world issues”. If you could first rank world issues by greatest impact (roughly). For example solving the water issue (discussed above) would have greater impact than solving glaucoma (an eye condition that if not addressed can lead to blindness). Then you have a start for measuring what should be prioritised.
But that list doesn’t give you the whole picture. What if there are 20 startups with $1 trillion+ in funding working on that same issue. On one hand, many hands make light work, on the other hand, perhaps global resources would best be shifted onto another problem where less resources are being dedicated.
So you really need a way to map the highest priorities alongside the resources being dedicated to them currently. That would result in the below venn diagram:
The net effect of what I’m discussing would be a global resource allocation overview, based on the highest priority world issues.
And this is what I’m currently working on.