Behind every global risk the world faces hides multiple opportunities to innovate and create better, more prosperous, and sustainable societies. The global opportunity report 2017 mine the following opportunities from its risk data.
Risk: Cyber threats.
Cyber security is a key concern to everyone from governments to people, using artificial intelligence to discover impending threats before they happen is a key opportunity. But by implementing artificial intelligence, it is possible to manage this increasing data stream with adaptive software that learns from every cyber attack.
A new development in the cyber security gamification opportunity space are products enabling companies to invite so-called “ethical hackers” onto a treasure-hunt styled game, working through their systems to spot and report bugs in return for a prize, usually money. Digital and tech companies have been early adopters, but the acute shortage of cyber security professionals is pushing more traditional industries to follow.
Behavioural biometrics analyses specific human behaviour with intelligent software, adding a new layer of security to verifying identification that is nearly impossible to replicate, without any additional stress for the user. Products and services in this market are moving digital security beyond simple passwords and pin codes, ensuring that as cyber criminals become more advanced, so too do everyday users.
Increasing frequency and strength of floods, storms, and other extreme weather events are disrupting energy systems and causing mass power outages for urban residents. In response, decentralised energy systems like solar and wind that can disconnect from the traditional grid and operate autonomously are emerging to provide more resilience in the energy supply.
Smart sensors on pipes and other critical water management infrastructure have the ability to detect leaks, measure water-related data, including rainfall, pH, temperature, turbidity, flow, pressure, and even contamination levels. As internet of things devices, smart sensors are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing data to be sent in real time to cloud storage.
Slums contain both an opportunity space for new products and services, as well as new investment opportunities. Products and services in this opportunity space include whole-building retrofitting; climate-proofing adaptation add-ons, such as affordable compressed gravel flooring to combat health problems from dirt floors; energy-positive and pre-fabricated houses; reusable air filters and building material; sustainably sourced low-cost bricks and mortar;
Simply put, blockchain is an open source digital ledger that acts like an accounting book and tracks all transactions. Everyone owns it but no one individual can make changes, making it tamper-proof. Blockchain allows people to prove their identity, enabling them to record transactions – and, hence, enter the global economy.
For businesses, the need to reduce time on household chores and care work, specifically for women, carries with it an array of opportunities to innovate. Labour-saving technologies e.g clean cook stoves and child care cafes can contribute to freeing up time spent on domestic and care work in developing as well as developed countries.
Mobile technologies and connected digital platforms are opening up new opportunities to deliver healthcare to low-income, remote communities. A key element of this connectedness is the Internet of People, which refers to the digitalisation of relationships between people and the collection of personal data, and enables more personalized, predictive, participatory, and preventive healthcare.
The use of advanced technologies to produce food without soil, and with reduced reliance on water and fertiliser, will make it possible to grow food in new areas. Soil-free agriculture presents an opportunity to save water and give tired soils a chance to regenerate. The opportunity space includes a range of supporting products like LED lighting and renewable energy technologies.
The addition of special kinds of bacteria and fungi to soils has the ability to regenerate tired and depleted land, enabling it to become productive and arable again without the use of chemical fertilisers. Keeping soil alive with natural additives represents a big opportunity to reverse the trend of degrading soils and ensure nutrient-rich land.
With climate change drying out soils, new water-retaining solutions are emerging – opening up opportunities to make non-productive land arable. Traditionally, agriculture has been reliant on rainfall patterns or irrigation systems, but the products within the field of moisture tech have the potential to cut this dependency and ensure arable soils.
Conflict prone regions
Innovative e-learning products and services present opportunities not only to improve educational offerings in conflict-affected regions, but to support consolidation of peace through the delivery of skills and competencies. The ubiquity of the internet offers businesses the chance to reach out-of-school children.
Technology is driving an opportunity to ensure that every physical product has a digital history, permitting consumers to trace and confirm its origins, attributes, and ownership to ensure conflict free natural resources. Blockchain technology is well-suited for tracking objects and transactions, making it possible for virtually anything of value to be traced. This opportunity is about creating transparency and product traceability in supply chains.
As the number of forcibly displaced people rises, the need for adequate shelter increases. In rural settings, refugee camps are built to provide protection, ensure personal security, and deliver humanitarian assistance.
By supporting quick and efficient responses to housing, sanitation, equipment maintenance, and many other basic services, businesses can help fulfil the needs of millions of refugees around the world.