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DRAFT 9/26/17

Harnessing the Power of Energy
to Transform the Lives of
10 Million People
2 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives


1. Energy is the lifeline of humanity 8

Can you build scalabe, sustainable social enteprises that harness the power of energy
to transform the lives of 10million people by 2025 ?............................................................9

2. The future of energy cannot be mired by the past 12

2.1. Energy is a building block of humanitys progress......................................................12

2.2. Efficiencies have greatly improved on both the generation

and consumption sides, yet much of the world remains in darkness................................13

3. Energy transformation can be mapped along

six principal levers or dimensions 22
3.1. Energy enables connectivity, allowing us to communicate faster
and more effectively on a global scale...............................................................................22

3.2. Energy enables greater mobility, fundamentally transforming the way we move
goods and people...............................................................................................................28

3.3. Energy enables efficiencies in Farming, Food production, and Agriculture

that can help reach many more people while transforming the way we produce
and consume food..............................................................................................................32

3.4. Energy enables better human functioning through Health and well-being,
extending lives and improving quality of life.......................................................................43

4. Energy-powered innovations are augmenting our ability to

lead meaningful lives 22

3 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Energy is the lifeline of humanity.

When you harness the power of energy creatively, you can
change the world.
Alexander Graham Bell invented the light bulb in 1878,
but thats not when the light bulb changed the world. The
change happened when people around world discovered
ways to use the light bulb to transform their own lives and
the lives of others.
The world has enough latent capacity for energy-powered
innovation to shift the trajectory of global development.
The world needs more disruption that taps into those
energy-powered innovations and transforms lives not only
among the ultra-poor, but across every economic stratum
in society.
This year we looked at six dimensions of energy use that
affect all of humanity. We ask you to find and develop
energy-powered innovations that can be scaled to improve
the lives of millions.

4 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

1. Can you build a scalable, sustainable

social enterprise that harnesses the
power of energy to transform the lives of
10 million people by 2025?

Writer and futurist William Gibson had

it right when he wrote, The future
is already hereits just not very
evenly distributed. The technology
to transform energy useand to
transform human lives for the better
already exists in the form of tens of
thousands of prototypes, patents, and
pilot projects. This years Hult Prize
challenges student teams not to invent
the energy systems of the future but to
deploy them at scale by listening closely
to customer needs, designing scalable
business models, and executing plans
that are capable of transforming the
lives of 10 million people through the
use of energy.
The greatest effort among energy-
focused innovators today is going
into either advancing the adoption of
alternative forms of energy generation
or increasing the efficiency of
technologies for existing applications.
Both are essential to shaping the global
energy future, but this years Hult Prize
challenges teams to go further: This years Hult Prize Challenge walks This years Hult Prize Challenge
Given the array of technologies you through six core areas affected by pushes you even further than previous
available today, what opportunities energy use that may form the basis of Challenges, as it asks teams to do two
exist to harness the power of energy to 2018 entries. The six dimensions ripe things in parallel:
transform the lives of 10 million people? for transformation through energy-
powered innovation include: Extend your reach: Search across
campus, throughout town, and around
Connectivity the world to find the energy-driven
Mobility technologies that are not realizing their
Farming, food, and agriculture potential to propel progress.
Water collection, storage
and transport Get out of the building: Find users
Health and the human experience and learn about their needs. Dont just
Education imagine how you can use energy to
enable new capabilitiesprove it.

5 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

The Light Bulb as Example,

Icon, and Inspiration
The most important linchpin
for abundance is energy. 1

- Peter Diamandis
The light bulb is an iconic emblem The light bulbs evolutionfrom flame
of ideas and innovation. It is difficult to incandescent, fluorescent to LED
to imagine the realities of daily living is emblematic of the progression of
before its invention, but consider energy-powered innovation. Successive
Thomas Edisons vantage point: innovations were built on each other
he imagined an electrified world and have continued to refine lighting
before it existed, and he brought that technology in ways that harness energy
transformative vision to life. more efficiently.
For millennia, open flames from fires The lessons the light bulb offers to
and torchlights were supplemented with energy innovators are clear: Use
expensive candles and oil lamps that promising energy systems as the basis
exuded weak light and filled homes with for innovation. Focus on practical
smoke. The light bulb put electricity to inventions. Capitalize on the potential
use with revolutionary consequences: ecosystem of business that exists
It transformed lives by decoupling around important new innovations.
humankinds work and rest schedules Create infrastructure if it does not
from the cycles of the sun. It made already exist. Think boldlyimagine a
our environment safer at night and transformed world, as Edison did, and
brightened our homes. It illuminated work to bring your vision to reality.
playgrounds for the human imagination.
When electricity became available
as a form of power in the 1800s, an
explosion of innovation began. This
innovation was fueled in particular by
Energy is the only universal
the demand for better, more affordable
light. Thomas Edisons famous bulb was
just one of many light bulbs invented at
currency: one of its many
that time, and it was not the first. But
Edisons iteration made the light bulb
practical, and his business acumen
forms must be transformed
made it commercially viable. His vision
spurred the creation of lighting systems
for homes and entire cities, and his
to get anything done.2
access to capital gave him the means to - Vaclav Smil
execute that vision.
Edisons success created an entire
ecosystem of innovations and
businesses, including incremental
improvements to the light bulb and
the rapid electrification of homes and
workplaces. The electrification of
lighting in turn led the way for many
other inventions that relied on this new
system of grid-based energy.

6 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

2. The future of energy cannot

be limited by the successes and
failures of the past
2.1. Energy is a key enabler of humanitys progress

Over time, our energy-powered 4. Revolutionary communications and

innovations have built on one another, information infrastructure: Advances
thereby driving advancements and in electronics have multiplied the
radically reshaping human civilization. availability of information to such
This has led to: an extent that any owner of a PC or
a smartphone caninstantly and
1. Increased life expectancy: Increasing inexpensivelyaccess an amount of
the availability of food to a level above information equivalent to a library of
mere subsistence and the provision of millions of volumes.3
adequate healthcare has increased the
human lifespan. Gains resulting from energy-powered
innovations have not been equally
2. Higher incomes and the emergence distributed: Many people still lack
of a middle class: Mechanization led to access to basic energy services. More
the worldwide trend toward increased than 1.2 billion people do not have
I skate to where the puck urbanization, and the worlds cities have access to electricity. An estimated 2.7
provided unprecedented occupational billion people live without adequate
is going to be, not where and intellectual opportunities. cooking facilities. As energy historian
its been. Vaclav Smil writes, The technical
3. Global mobility of goods and people: advances made by high-energy fossil-
New techniques have increased fueled civilization have accentuated
- Wayne Gretzky, hockey great personal mobility to a level that was the gap between have and have-not
hard to imagine just a half-century ago, nations, with access to information
and have transformed international trade (through ownership of electronic
into a truly global, mass-scale affair. devices, or purchases of printed matter)
and opportunities to enjoy a high-
quality life (rising life expectancy, choice
of occupation) becoming even more
unequal than average incomes.4

As you work toward scalable,

sustainable solutions that have a social
impact, youll need to consider the
differential energy landscape, including
the potential of sizeable underserved

7 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives
2.2. The efficiency of both energy generation
and energy consumption technologies have Current Energy
increased greatly in recent decades, yet too
much of the world remains in darkness Landscape
Technological advances in the way
we generate, transmit, store, and use Generation:
energy are undergoing a dramatic
transformation, with rapidly accelerating
Plummeting costs for renewables
will continue.
change in all four domains. While this
years Challenge is focused squarely
Fossil fuels remain a key part of
the energy mix, but are diminishing.
on how innovations
There is growing consumer control
in the end use Battery technologies can help over how and where energy is
of energythat
provide reliable and timely delivery produced.
is, the forms
experienced directly of electricity for various end-uses.
Demand outstrips generation
capacity in many developing
by consumers
can transform millions of lives, a brief
review of trends in energy generation,
transmission, and storage can help Transmission:
forward-looking innovators understand Distributed energy systems are
how to capitalize on new opportunities emerging.
in the ways we use energy.

Breakthroughs in energy generation are Storage:

disrupting global markets and legacy Renewables drive demand for
energy systems. Since 2009, the cost of energy systems are emerging as grid new, better storage solutions.
solar and wind energy have plummeted operators are challenged to provide
by 85% and 66%, respectively, and flexible generation resources. Advanced Battery technologies are more
these drastic declines are forecast to metering infrastructure is likely to play important than ever.
continue. While coal and oil remain an increasingly important role in the
dominant primary energy sources, many future of the electric grid. In developing Use:
studies suggest that demand will peak markets, much attention is focused on
and then begin to decline as the world distributing mini- and off-grid energy. There is escalating demand for
moves away from carbon-intensive fuels. electrification.
How we store energy from new energy Opportunity exists to leverage
In developed markets, consumers sources is one of the leading frontiers further gains from improved
are increasingly demanding a greater of energy-powered innovation. Energy energy efficiency.
say in how and where their energy storage in global markets could grow by
is produced. Advances in renewable up to 40%, and thus reduce the need for
energy technologies, energy policies, major new transmission infrastructure.
and cost breakthroughs mean that
consumers can take advantage of Batteries will play a key and expanding Advances in energy generation,
distributed energy resources, such as role in energy storage. Battery transmission, and storage mean better
rooftop solar and battery storage, to technologies can help provide reliable decision making around where and how
have more behind-the-meter control of and timely delivery of electricity for we use energy. Developments in smart-
their electricity procurement. various end-uses. Advances in battery metering and low-power technologies
technologies now allow larger amounts mean that consumers can be smarter
In developing markets, technological and more efficientin their energy use.
advances (including renewables How we produce and Energy efficiency is sometimes referred
and distributed solutions) may allow to as the worlds cheapest fuel. Across
countries to leapfrog their energy consume energy is changing. the globe, the efficiency of our energy
infrastructure, which in many cases use has improved, but there is great
has been incompletely transitioned to of energy to be stored in a commercially potential for further gains.
fossil fuels. Poor reliability and power viable manner, with battery costs falling
blackouts are frequent challenges, by nearly 20% per year. Further cost
especially where high rates of declines are expected, as manufacturing
urbanization and population growth capacity triples in the next four years
have caused demand to grow faster and battery energy density doubles. READ MORE
than generation capacity. New battery-powered electronics will
disrupt markets and encourage fuel
Rapid adoption of renewable energy switching (i.e., from vehicles fueled by How the Worlds Energy Use
Is Changing
technologies is also changing how gasoline or diesel to battery-electric Rethinking Energy2017
we transmit energy. More distributed vehicles). Key World Energy Statistics2016
8 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and

opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security,
The Sustainable Development Goals climate change, food production or increasing incomes,
(SDGs) set by the United Nations are access to energy for all is essential. Sustainable energy is
a universal call to action to improve opportunity it transforms livs, economies and the planet.
the lives of people everywhere and
to protect our shared planet. The 17 United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals
Global Goals with 169 targets
between themconstitute an ambitious
set of markers of progress toward
creating a better world in 2030..
The Hult Prize Challenge is deeply
aligned with the framework for progress
set by the SDGs. Each dimension area
of the 2018 Challengeconnectivity,
mobility, food, water, health, and
educationis directly tied to one or
more of the goals. Many other Goals
are also deeply embedded within
these priority areas. Ensuring access
to affordable, reliable, sustainable and
modern energy for all is the nexus which
connects with, and enables, each of the
six dimensions of this years challenge.

The International Energy Agency

estimates that nearly two-thirds of the
economic potential for energy efficiency
The electricity sector is undergoing a has not yet been exploited, leaving
transformation... These changes are creating many [as] yet untapped opportunities.

an environment of genuine uncertainty in With the anticipated shift toward

which many challenges arise, along with new electrification for many end-uses,
opportunities. McKinsey estimates that future demand
for electricity will be twice as high as
World Resources Institute that for other fuel sources.

The energy shift now under way

is as much geographical as it is
Projected world primary energy consumption
technological. By 2040, the developing
Quadrillion BTU world will account for 65% of the
900 worlds energy consumption. That
compares to 54% in 2010. Over the
800 History Projection next three decades, energy use in
700 non-OECD countries is expected to
substantially outpace that of OECD
members, like the European countries,
500 the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
400 non-OECD Countries
200 OECD Countries
0 The Sustainable Development Goals
2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035 2040 Report 2017

9 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

How does the world generate energy? How does the world consume energy?

How is our energy use changing?

Electricity access in rural

areas is lower than in
96% urban areas 73%
urban rural

A Map of the World at Night

10 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives
2.3. The key to harnessing the
transformative power of energy lies in
democratizing innovation, making it more
accessible to all

At the end of any arc of innovation, when we have

gone all the way from entrepreneur to automation,
goods and services that used to be scarce and very
expensive to acquire have now been made plentiful
and cheap. That makes them a perfect platform
upon which to build the next wave of innovation.
Entrepreneurs are the ones who catch on to the
implications of this new state the fastest. They kick
off the next round of innovation, they launch the
next arc.
Visionary researchers have long sought Geoffrey Moore, innovation expert
radically better ways to harness the
ambient energy around us. Significant
scientific efforts have examined ways
to capture the latent energy in our
ionic atmosphere, unlock the power
of magnets, or use vacuum power to
propel our energy needs. Theyve even
had (not so?) far-flung dreams of mining
Case: GravityLight
the moon or using an element called
thorium to power molten-salt reactors.
Researchers continue to investigate
how, in the near future, we might derive
power from ambient energy sources.
This includes mechanical ways to use
vibrational energy, thermal inventions
to capture energy from temperature
changes, radiant devices to take
energy from light and radio waves, and
electrochemical innovations to extract
energy from biochemical reactions.

To reiterate: The 2018 Hult Prize

challenges you to build sustainable
businesses around existing technologies
that have the potential to transform our
world. We arent asking you to uncover
new major energy sources, but if you
Photo credit: Gravity Light
are to succeed in creating new, viable
pathways for existing technologies,
it is critical that you understand the
current landscape, as well as the
Not all energy-powered innovation requires
audacious horizons of energy generation a full-scale research lab to translate science
and distribution. Wayne Gretzky, the
greatest professional hockey player fiction into reality.
ever, attributed his uncanny talent to his
GravityLight is a light source powered by gravity, much like
ability to perceive and react to what was
a grandfather clock. Using the weight from a sack full of
about to happen next. In thinking about
rocks or soil, it can produce electricity for indoor lighting. In
scalable solutions, teams may want
just a few seconds it can generate 30 minutes of light from
to evaluate whether their plans can be
natural gravitational forceno battery or fuel required. It was
easily integrated with existing and future
developed for markets that are without reliable electricity and
technologiesand whether solutions for
where indoor lighting after dark can mean that kids will have
today are future proof.
more time to study.
Your task now: be inspired and A crowdfunded invention that went on to win major
have the confidence to aim big, innovation awards, GravityLight is now being distributed in
think unconventionally, and grab Kenya and can be purchased from major retailers in the U.S.,
an ownership stake in the radical UK, and Canada.
transformation of our world. DRAFT V1
11 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3. Energy transformation can be mapped

along six principal dimensions
This years Hult Prize Challenge Each of these six areas can be
is focused on six dimensions of tremendously impacted by social
transformation that are poised for major enterprises that develop and deliver
disruptive innovation through the novel solutions at scale. There are abundant
use of energy. opportunities to leverage underrealized
innovations and help transform the lives
of millions.


Health Education

Mobility Agriculture

12 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.1. Energy enables connectivity, allowing us

to communicate more rapidly and effectively
on a global scale

Perhaps no dimension has

been more fundamentally
transformed by energy
over the past century than
Energy allows us to communicate
and collaborate on a global scale,
with latencies as low as nanoseconds.
Digital and mobile advancements
have enabled breakthroughs in how
we create and understand information
and data which in turn empowers to
make better decisions, including how
we can use resources most effectively
and efficiently. The more granular the
data, the more precise and tailored the
recommended course of action.

Yet with connectivity, as with the other

domains in this years Challenge, gains
have not been evenly distributed, which
raises several questions:
Electromagnetic Spectrum:
How can we expand Internet
services to those who currently
lack access?
How can we harness new
connectivity technologies to
improve the delivery of other
essential services?
How will we build the next phase
All modern communication technologies mediate forms of energy:
of connectivity so that it enables the wireless signals used by our cell phones are radio waves on an
the next generation of human unseen part of the light spectrum.
13 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.1.1. Extending access to the Internet

enhances education systems,
healthcare delivery, and other services
critical to human development

9.C SDG Target: Significantly increase access to information and communications

technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in
least developed countries.

Nearly four billion people startups. Facebook has explored

how solar-powered drones might fly
around the globe still lack above unserved areas (at a height
above where commercial aircraft fly,
Internet access. and where weather conditions have
no impact). Googles plans involve
Extending access to basic connectivity deploying helium balloons and high-
could enhance education systems, capacity satellites that together could
healthcare delivery, and other services expand high-speed Internet access.
critical to human developmentand
thus radically improve the lives of more Expanding Internet access is also
than half the worlds population. changing the way digital content is
delivered. Millions of new-to-the-
Our rapidly digitizing world, with its market, low-income consumers are
ever-growing number of connected now accessing the Internet directly
devices, poses a challenge for our using only voice and images, thus
mobile communications infrastructure. entirely bypassing the browser interface
In geographic regions that already have people in rich countries have become
basic or advanced Internet services, accustomed to since the launch of
the connectivity opportunity lies in Netscape in 1993. Around the world,
the ability to reimagine the ease and different solutions like UC Browser,
speed at which we can access vast SHAREit, MX Player, and Babajob are
troves of information and data on an optimized for slow connections, minimal
unprecedented scale. data storage, and voice commands.
Theyve succeeded by finding new
Creative solutions to expanding users where they are now, rather than
Internet access have been proposed expecting users to change their habits
by both tech behemoths and growing in order to conform.

14 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Case: JanaBuilding
Business Models around
Internet for All

While high-tech 3.1.2. Expanding the range of services

infrastructure efforts to available will be the next phase
of online innovation
expand access continue,
so does work to develop
commercially sustainable 8.2 SDG Target: Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through
businesses that can enable diversification, technological upgrading and innovation

that access. The first generation of the Internet to carry out detailed authentication
the Internet we know todayis really protocols. From securing land claims
Jana is one example of how an a system for sharing information. As to authenticating identity to ensuring
innovative business plan can fuel we all know, the Internets impact that musicians are compensated for
connectivity in new markets. on access to information has been their work, blockchain-based systems
astounding. To focus on just one have the potential to democratize
Facebook is talking about lasers example, Wikipedia, a venture with 200 the authentication of transactions
from space and Google [is] talking full-time employees, engages a global in the same way the Internet
about giant blimps, which is great, network of 80,000 regular volunteers has democratized the sharing of
but the real way to impact the lives to create and curate a knowledge information.
of billions of people in terms of resource that reaches a half-million
mobileparticularly in rural areasis users a month in an astonishing 288
to reduce their price per megabyte, languages.
says Jana founder Nathan Eagle.
For example, more than half of the In the next phase of the Internet, the
smartphones in Brazil dont have underlying architecture may manage
a data plan because its just too transactions rather than information.
expensive . . . And even though the The name for this adaptation is
price of megabytes is projected to blockchain. This new architecture is
halve by 2020, typical consumption already enabling the creation of an
is expected to go up 6x. array of new business opportunities
that bypass traditional intermediaries
for transactions, such as banks,
notaries, and various government
agencies. It instead relies on peers

Photo credit: theAndroidGuy

Smart Devices,
Jana leverages advertising to provide Smarter Energy Use
free Internet service to more than
30 million people around the world.
It offers basic Internet services in
underserved and emerging markets Smart devices and networks
by offsetting user costs through can manage energy use
ad-sponsored but unrestricted and provide a customizable
Internet access. Janas mCent user experience. This
browser is provided free to mobile democratization of energy
users through partnerships with use could fundamentally
mobile operators. Jana monetizes its alter how we interact with
customer base with strategic mobile electronics. For example,
advertising campaigns to engage users could remotely
consumers in emerging markets. program their smart
Billed as subsidized Internet appliances to run during the
for the developing world, Jana time of day when electricity
demonstrates how business model costs are lowest and the grid
innovations can create social impact is not experiencing excess
at scale. demand.
15 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.1.3. Realizing the full potential of innovation

in Internet services will require building next-
gen Internet access technologies that resolve
supply side constraints

Building an interconnected world for all

will require innovation in connectivity itself.
Numerous emerging technologies hold
promise, including developments in
wireless power and advances in next-
gen wireless technologies.

Wireless power involves transferring energy

directly into the end-use device, either through
proximity to an energy source or via
long-distance transmission.

The energy that fuels our electronic

devices is becoming less reliant on
wires and cords. In the near future,
electricity may be beamed directly into
electronic devices, which will impact
everything from how we charge our
phones and computers to how we
receive electricity in our homes. Early
commercial efforts are continuing to
mature; for example, Energous has
debuted commercial technology that
can power devices wirelessly across
short distances.

Wireless power could revolutionize Photo credit: Honda

how electricity is transferred to various
end uses. It may lead to the creation of
shared public charging infrastructure through cellular and Wi-Fi will continue early commercial efforts like NextLiFi
rather than individual ownership of to grow. attempting to realize Haas vision of
power cords and access to electrical wireless data that emanates from
outlets. It also could have major The deployment of 5G networks is every light bulb. The pCell technology
implications for issues involving land expected to incorporate a number of from Artemis is another example of a
use for large-scale power delivery, new technologies that use the wireless potentially transformative new approach
as it could negate the reliance on spectrum more efficiently, such as to enabling connectivity.
thousands of miles of transmission and millimeter waves, massive MIMO,
distribution systems to carry energy small cells, and beamforming. Other
from remote generation sources to efforts are entirely rethinking how we
major load centers. operate our wireless communications.
For instance, Light Fidelity, or Li-Fi, is
Other advances are concerned with the an emerging technology that conveys
fundamental underlying architecture of wireless communications at very high
our communications systems. Theres speeds. Discovered by Harald Haas
been a lot of talk in recent years about in 2011, Li-Fi uses the visible light
running out of wireless spectrum. We spectrum but at speeds so quick the
can use only a fairly limited range of light is not recognized by the human
electromagnetic frequencies, and the eye. Exponential growth in Li-FI is
number of signals we send and receive expected in the coming years, with Photo credit: LextLiFi

Photo credit: Artemis
16 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Case: pCellPersonal
Connectivity Everywhere?

pCell is one possible contender. This access to the same network. Artemis
wireless innovation from Artemis claims that this results in a dramatic
appears to upend conventional increase in the spectral efficiency of
understanding of the underlying LTE and Wi-Fi systems, with signals up
architecture of connectivity. to 1,000 times faster. The innovation
Current energy-powered The ongoing rapid growth in the
seems to break information theoryor,
at least, to suggest that Shannons
innovations in connectivity number of connected devices poses Law was asking the wrong question.
reliability and bandwidth challenges Beginning with a technological
may prove to be as for the underlying communications discovery in a university setting,
architecture. Cellular networks are pCells path to commercialization has
revolutionary as the invention traditionally shared spaces with a taken more than a decade. Artemis
of the microprocessor. cellular antenna that provides coverage
with a single signal, or cell, shared by
Technologies, founded in 2011
by QuickTime and WebTV creator
all who connect to it. This arrangement Steve Perlman, has incubated its
divvies up bandwidth into small development.
increments to avoid interference.
pCell is a useful reminder that
Called an elegant solution to a transformative technologies can follow
persistent problem, pCells technology a winding path to commercialization.
embraces interference; signals get Artemis business model was first built
stronger as interfering waves combine. on a notion of licensing pCell to wireless
By exploiting interfering radio waves, carriers and Internet service providers.
it creates an unshared personal cell, Announcements of field testing in 2014
or pCell, that follows each individual aroused significant media interest
device and allows each user full access (and skepticism). Artemis signed a
to the spectrum. pCell inverts the major agreement with Nokia Networks
existing paradigma comparatively and licensed spectrum from DISH
small number of large cellular towers Networks in 2015, and the company has
by building out a system that instead continued to innovate its business plan.
uses a large number of small cellular
towers. With the latter approach, users
in densely populated areas would not
experience service disruptions from
having to compete with others for


Internet for All: 2016 World Economic

Forum Report
#SystemTransformation: How Digital
Solutions Will Drive Progress Towards The
Sustainable Development Goals
US Ignite supports next-gen applications
and services built on advanced networking
17 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.2. Energy enables greater mobility,

fundamentally transforming the way we
move goods and people

11.2 SDG Target: Provide access to safe, affordable, accessible

and sustainable transport systems for all

9.2 SDG Target: Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and

resilient infrastructure, including regional and transborder
infrastructure, to support economic development and human well-
being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all

How we transport goods and well-developed road networks turn

their focus to the coming reality of
people fundamentally touches driverless cars and other cutting-edge
technologies that save time and fuel
every aspect of our existence. including high-speed bullet trains, fast
flights that (quietly) break the sound
Like spokes in the wheels that propel barrier, and even the specter of a
us forward, the impact transportation hyperloopmany other countries still
has on our lives radiates out in confront underdeveloped transportation
many directions. Well-functioning networks that prevent access to basic
transportation networksfor both services. According to the World
goods and peopleare essential to Bank, one billion people in low-income
extending the human ability to flourish. countries still lack access to an all-
Energy-driven technological gains have weather road. The consequences can
made transportation more accessible be dire: a sick child cant receive urgent
and cheaper than ever, but we still medical care, crops rot before reaching
have more to do to extend the potential the market, and education opportunities
benefits to allparticularly those in are out of reach. Finding new ways
impoverished rural areas. to extend transportation technologies
to traditionally underserved markets
Humans are more globally not only can tap into strong demand
interdependent than ever, thanks to from consumers, it can reap significant
the mass transportation of goods societal benefits.
and people, but the wide spectrum
in mobility also highlights the sharp The transformation of transportation
inequities in transportation technology provides abundant openings for
between developed and developing entrepreneurs in almost any setting.
markets. While rich countries with We now ask you to broadly consider
how we can move goods and people
inclusively and sustainably, while also
Extending humanitys mobility has always been getting back to basics. Consider that
driven by energy-powered innovation, from the some of the most creative mobility
innovations may be found not in flying
first seafarers who harnessed the wind to the
cars or other futuristic technology but in
innovators who made mass air travel possible the movement of our own bodies.
in the 20th century. Today, the mobility sector
is perhaps more deeply intertwined than any
other with the systemic energy-powered
innovations that are beginning to upend how
we move through the world.
18 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Photo credit: Titan Arm

3.2.1. We can harness energy from our

bodies in motion to move and power objects

The human body is an energy the lungs could power pacemakers

powerhouse. It produces energy continuously. Human energy might also
constantly, through chemical be harnessed through thermoelectric
digestion and metabolism, mechanical generation, which captures heat energy
locomotion, and heat generated by from the body through temperature
movement. Harnessing this abundant gradients within the ambient
energy source is a potent back-to- environment.
basics approach for the 21st century.
New innovations mean we can harvest
Applying mechanical force to an energy from our bodies in motion. UK-
object, like spinning a turbine, based Pavegen has created tiles that
is one major method of energy convert kinetic energy into electricity
production. Human locomotion using a mechanical system rather
refers to applying mechanical force than more advanced piezoelectric
from our musculoskeletal system to technology. The tiles could be installed
induce movement. Researchers have where theres high foot traffic, like at
developed a chip that can capture the busy transit centers or in schools. At
kinetic energy of human movement to Riverdale Country School in New York,
fuel small electronic devices such as the tiles are already powering a phone-
cell phones. Such technology could be charging station entirely through the
inserted into the shoe soles to store force generated by students footsteps.
energy created from movement, or it
could be inserted into the body; for Energy-powered innovations in
example, the natural movement of mechanistic assistance can also restore
or enhance human movement through
Photo credit: Pavegen individual augmentation. For example,
the Titan Arm is a bionic exoskeleton
that can allow people to lift heavier
objects than they otherwise would
be able to handle. The opportunity to
restore or enhance human movement
through mechanical assistance could
serve many applications throughout
the medical and industrial sectors. In
medicine, bionic devices could assist
with physical therapy to rehabilitate
patients. In industry, these devices
could give manual laborers greater
ability to lift heavy objects and
reduce the strain on their bodies. This
mechanical assist could help prevent
acute or overuse injuries among manual
laborers, thus enhancing their quality
of life.
19 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.2.2. Meeting the needs of growing

populations in increasingly urbanized settings
will require rethinking how people and
goods are moved

Transportation has traditionally In most places today, the mass transport Dramatic improvements in battery
of goods and people is dominated by technology have pushed back the
required a huge infrastructure four technologies that are more than a boundaries of automotive transport,
century old (trains, automobiles, trucks, turning electric-powered vehicles
investment, as well as bicycles) and one that is more than 50 (EVs) from the ugly ducklings of the
years old (containerized shipping). In this automobile market to some of the
substantial energy consumption, decade, energy thats being harnessed in most sought-after consumer goods.
to fuel mobility. Both elements new ways is transforming each of these
technologies. As new technologies create
By so doing, EVs have helped shift
the trajectory of the entire industry.
are beginning to change. new options, norms and models for (Although EVs currently comprise
mobility are changing rapidly: only 1% of all new vehicle sales
globally, recent analyses suggest
Gains in solar-power technologies that EVs could account for 30% of all
are beginning to fuel cars, bicycles new light-duty vehicle sales by 2030
even our roadways. New varieties and 54% by 2040.)
of electric-assisted bicycles are
expanding the range of the worlds Autonomous transportation is
most efficient form of transport. an emerging trend that, as it
Private bicycle-sharing programs are matures, will continue to reshape
growing rapidly, transforming transit transportation dramatically in urban
in cities. and rural areas alike. Careem
is already demonstrating how
the efficiency gains of Uber-like
ridesharing might be extended even
further with driverless pods.

Finally, for the first time in decades,

a fundamentally new mode of
transportation entering into use has
the potential to effect an even greater
transformation: the autonomous drone.
Dubai is the first city to approve a trial
run for drone taxis. As we explore here in
our fundamental building-block section,
drones are already fundamentally
impacting every domain and dimension.

Photo credit:

Photo credit: SolaRoad
20 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Solar Roadways

As more populations reach new levels of Though largely still in the R&D phase,
prosperity, more vehicles are expected the worlds first solar-powered roadway
on the road, which creates an obvious was piloted in France in 2016. Other
question: How can we sustainably projects have explored different solar-
fuel an additional one billion cars by powered transportation pathways; the
2035? One potential solution is to SolaRoad, which was tested in the
power vehicles of the future through Netherlands in 2015 for use on bike
the electrification of the transportation paths, reportedly generated far more
sector. power than was anticipated.
Solar roadways are one idea being Solar roadways face several cost,
tested as a way to transmit power to engineering, and maintenance
vehicles and to the lights and signs challenges before they can achieve
that accompany roadways. Specially wide-scale deployment. The kilometer-
designed arrays of solar panels would long test bed in France cost $5.2
be laid flat and provide energy to the million; there are one million kilometers
vehicles and people traveling across of roads in France and more than six
them. million in the U.S. Even with a targeted
deployment, the high upfront costs
Solar roadways are one idea being could mean an increased payback
period for investors. Furthermore,
tested as a way to transmit power to
laying the panels flat (rather than being
vehicles and to the lights and signs angled toward the sun) seems to lessen
that accompany roadways. their ability to generate energy. New
technology breakthroughs may increase
the products attractiveness, such as
the ability to prevent the accumulation
of snow and ice, or including
microprocessors in the panels to allow
for communication between the panels,
control hubs, and vehicles.


Sustainable Development Goal 11:

Sustainable Cities and Communities
Sustainable Mobility for All
2016 Global Transport Sustainability Conference
21 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.3. Energy enables efficiencies in farming, food

production, and agriculture that can help reach
many more people while transforming the way
we produce and consume food

The food we consume to fuel our bodies is

our primary personal energy source

Our modern food production systems

hinge upon a variety of energy-
driven technologies; fossil fuels, for
example, power our tractors, and our
fields are spread with nitrogen-based
fertilizers. Today, the global supply of
food energy requires significantly less
land and human labor than it has for
most of human history, but it does so
with the expense of intensive energy
investments in agricultural activities.
The energy transformation in
agriculture to date has had unequal
results. The global harvest right now
produces more than adequate calories
per person, but 12% of the worlds
population remains undernourished; in
Food has always been fertile ground for innovation.
rich countries the food supply is 75% Even modern food products like the ubiquitous
higher than actual need, resulting in energy bar can be traced back to innovations in
food waste and increasing incidence of
ancient human history; early hunting groups would
consume durable high-energy food called
Technology continues to redefine our pemmican, created from the rendered fat of big game,
mechanistic farming practices, but the
coming decades will require a radical
dried meat, and sometimes berries.6
transformation of the sector: to meet challenge. Historically, we have been
the needs of the global population, able to achieve even larger increases in
we must grow 60% more food by our agricultural production over similar
2050. Well need energy-powered time periods, but efficiency increases
innovations that transform #Agtech and are now slowing, in part due to climate
#Foodtech, which means rethinking change. Maintaining our past pace
how we produce and consume food. of yield increases will be difficult
Teams are challenged to take a new without new systemic innovations.
perspective on: Resource-conserving practices,
such as conservation agriculture and
Redefining what food is climate-smart agriculture, are helping
Innovating how we grow food to increase agricultural productivity. A
Changing how we process, store, recent resurgence in both agricultural
and distribute food R&D and private investment makes
it more likely than ever that these
Doubling our production of food, and other emergent innovations can
feed, and biofuel by 2050 is a steep achieve wider deployment.
22 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.3.1. Pioneering entrepreneurs are redefining

what food is, creating game-changing
opportunities to increase yields and improve
its becoming
easier to alter
What we consider food continues to
crop genes to evolve with new innovations in how to
use or alter various forms of energy
improve disease input. With the advent of CRISPR, a
new genetic engineering technology, its
resistance and becoming easier to alter crop genes to
improve disease resistance and drought

drought tolerance tolerance, or to increase yields and

improve nutrition. New food products
such as insect protein powders can
make key nutrients more sustainable
and accessible; others provide nutrition
while cutting down on major sources of
food waste. Advances in the laboratory
are also making it possible to grow

Case: Making Meat Photo credit: Impossible Foods

Growing Protein in a Lab

Cultured meat production substitutes

animal meat for lab-grown, plant-based
products that can mimic the look,
texture, and taste of actual meat.
Meat production is a burden on the
environment. The amount of energy
invested in producing meat products
is enormous in comparison to that
Impossible Foods has created
required for producing the same a burger using plant-derived
number of calories from plant-based heme, which gives it the flavor
sources. It takes an average of roughly replace the true flavor and texture of
1,800 gallons of water to produce a meat. That is changing. Impossible
and texture of meat.
single pound of beef. Cattle grazing is a Foods has created a burger using
top contributor to global deforestation, plant-derived heme, which gives it the
and cows are a surprising key source flavor and texture of meat. It is already
of greenhouse gas emissions. The being served at upscale food chains. gotten off to a highly publicized start,
demand for meat around the world Production of heme uses significantly as have Memphis Meats and Mosa
is projected to grow by two-thirds in less energy, consumes 95% less land, Meats in the Netherlands. Our goal is to
coming decades. Meanwhile, many 74% less water, and produces 87% entirely remove the animal from the meat
innovations are making meat production less greenhouse gas than traditional production process, says Memphis
less energy intensive. Some of the most burgers. Meats CEO Uma Valeti.
promising are going so far as to rethink
what meat means. Meatless meats of the near future will With only a handful of startups in this
be lab-grown, or cultured. These meats field, there are many possible business
Meat products made from plants have are based on actual meat tissues and opportunities in building out the supply
been around a long time, but soy synthesized from cell cultures. Silicon chain and bringing these kinds of
burgers and meatless bacon rarely Valley startup Hampton Creek has products to new markets.
23 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.3.2. Innovations on the production

side are set to alter how we grow food

water and land as traditional farms,

and localized production can cut down
on transportation costs. Crops can
be harvested many more times per
year, without the same dependency
Taking farming indoors, using on weather patterns or reliance on food around the world. While some
innovations look to harness naturelike
pesticide usage. Several startups,
hydroponic and aquaponics including Motorleaf, Plenty, Aerofarms, using bees as delivery agents for direct
BrightFarms, Bowery Farming, and pest managementothers are looking
systems, and deploying Freight Farms, are building post- to deploy robots to increase efficiency.

robots to further automate the organic indoor farming systems to

grow fresh food locally, and they have Agricultural robots, or agbots, can
complement emerging sensor and drone
manual labor of agriculture are raised considerable capital.
technologies to improve efficiency in the
all altering how we grow our AQUAPONICS field. Prototype robots have been able
to microtarget weeds with herbicides,
food. Aquaponics systems combine the using only 0.1% as much weed killer
farming of fish (aquaculture) with the as is used in conventional blanket
cultivation of plants (hydroponics). In a spraying. Introducing more automation
VERTICAL AND INDOOR FARMING closed-loop aquaculture system, fish into harvesting could decrease harmful
are fed nutrients and their excrement monoculture practices, with small
Indoor farming is one response to the is used as fertilizer for the plants. The autonomous robots enabling mixed
shrinking amount of farmland. With water also can be filtered and reused for planting.
advances in solar energy, sensors, the fish. While promising, the challenges
lighting, robotics, and artificial of large-scale deployment have limited The field is ripe for the picking. The
intelligence, indoor farms have become implementation to date. The Food and global market for agbots was estimated
a viable alternative to traditional Agriculture Organization of the United at $3 billion at the end of 2015, with
outdoor farms. Automated indoor Nations has called aquaculture one of forecasts suggesting growth to $17
farms use roughly one-tenth as much the fastest-growing food-producing billion by the end of 2020 and nearly
sectors. With a handful of firms like $74 billion by 2024. Theres still
Urban Organics and Blue Smart Farms room for new ideas. Big-machinery
developing plans for larger distribution, manufacturers are not putting their
the sector has opportunities for further money into manufacturing agricultural
Farming can now be done entrants. robots because it goes against their
without a field. In London, a current business models, says Simon
Blackmore, an engineer at Harper
hydroponic farm was built in the AGBOTS
Adams University in the UK.
underground tunnels that once Mechanization was essential for the
served as air-raid shelters. development of large-scale industrial
farming. New technologies will further
change how easily and quickly we
can plant, maintain, and harvest

24 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.3.3. Changing how we process, store, and

distribute food will dramatically reduce food
waste and enhance food security 1/3 OF ALL FOOD GROWN IS LOST
12.3 SDG Target: By 2030, halve per capita global food
waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food
losses along production and supply chains, including
post-harvest losses

Safely processing, shipping, and between actors in the supply chain and
distributing the food we produce is a consumer behavior drive the majority of
significant logistics challenge. Its also food waste.
a large market. Cold-chain services
for perishable food distribution are Building end-to-end cold-chain
valued at roughly $190 billion globally systems helps move perishable food
and are projected to grow by more safely to consumers. The maturation
than 40% by 2022. Improving how we of proper cold-chain storage systems
store and distribute food is an essential has yielded significant benefits in
component of ensuring food security. developed countries; the WHO
Problems with food distribution are one identified refrigeration as a major factor
significant driver of global hunger: while in the reduction of stomach cancer by and shippers along the supply chain
great gains have been made in recent nearly 90% in the United States since with its small sachet inserts that can
decades, an estimated 795 million 1930. But infrastructure challenges have be slipped into shipments to inhibit
people still lack access to adequate limited the expansion of these systems ripening.
food. in some developing countries. Creative
solutions include using new energy In addition to preserving what we grow,
Reducing food loss is a major vector for technologies such as renewables to we also must ensure that food is safe
improving the efficiency of our global power modular cold-storage units. The to eat. New applications of energy
food production chain. Its estimated East Africa Fruit and Farm Company, can improve the safety of our food.
that 30% to 40% of all food grown based in Tanzania, touts significant RF Biocidics uses radio frequency to
is lost or wasted every year. In low- reductions in post-harvest losses (from eliminate pathogens in food. By using
income countries, food loss and waste 48% to 10%) through the use of cold electromagnetic waves instead of
stem from challenges with harvesting, storage driven by renewable energy. conventional thermal processing, food
storing, and distributing food. In higher- Hazel Technologies, a U.S.-based can be treated in packaging without the
income countries, lack of coordination startup, focuses on providing growers use of chemicals.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization:

Given that many smallholder farmers in
developing countries live on the margins
of food insecurity, a reduction in food
Sample Cold Chain Diagram: losses could have an immediate and
significant impact on their livelihoods.
Processed Food
Non Refrigerated
Bulk Procurement Production

Harvest at Farm
Fresh Food Retailer
Post harvest Transport (Air/ Franchise)
Precooling/ Transport (Truck)

25 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Case: ColdHubs
Preserving Harvests with In developing countries, nearly half the leveraging renewable energies to tackle
food harvested spoils due to lack of food-storage challenges in developing
Solar Power refrigeration. An estimated 470 million countries.
farmers in Africa, Southeast Asia, and
Latin America lose up to one-quarter of Started by Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu, a
their annual income from crop spoilage. farmer and entrepreneur, ColdHubs is
ColdHubs, located in Nigeria, is styled as a plug-and-play solution to
on-site food storage. Modular, solar-
powered walk-in units allow for off-
Photo credit: ColdHubs
grid storage of perishable food. Solar
panels mounted on the roof feed energy
to high-capacity batteries that fuel a
refrigerating unit.

The business model embraces

microtransactions using a pay-as-
you-store subscription model, which
allows farmers to pay daily fees based
on the amount of food they store.
Rates currently are 100 Naira per day
and per crateabout 50 U.S. cents.
ColdHubs is designed for major food
production and consumption centers,
such as farms and outdoor markets,
where sitting in the hot sun can scorch
produce. ColdHubs model extends its
social impact by doubling as storage for
refrigerated medications and vaccines.

Case: Farming Net Energy

with Methane Digesters
One solution to this is to contain
the decomposition of organic waste
in sealed tanks called anaerobic
digesters. The tanks harness the power
of microbes to transform scraps and
Agricultural, industrial, sludge into two main products: bio-gas,
an energy source, and solids called
and human digestion digestate, a nutrient-rich fertilizer.

processes create an ongoing Brubaker Farms, a family-run dairy in

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has
(and growing) stream of developed an innovative agricultural
organic refuse. system thats environmentally beneficial
and economically successful. Using a
Without thoughtful management, digester, the farm captures methane
organic waste can emit fugitive methane produced by its 900 head of cattle and
gases as it decomposes. Methane in turn produces electricityenough
creates a warming effect 34 times to power the farm as well as another
200 homes. Waste heat from the
stronger than carbon dioxide over one
generator is even reused to heat water
hundred years.
for the farm, and digested solids find
second life as hygienic bedding for the FutureAg: Current news in the future of
cows. This holistic, creative approach sustainable agriculture
to resource management is good An open-source community
for farmer-driven agricultural innovations
business for the farmand good for the How Big Data is going to help feed 9
environment. billion people by 2050, Tech Republic
26 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.4. Energy enables more efficient water

collection, storage, and transport, helping
humanity manage its most valuable resource

Energy and water are deeply Teams are asked to consider how you
intertwined. Some of our earliest might use energy to:
innovations involved harnessing waters
energy. Water is essential to human life Create more clean water with
in all phases of energy production, and new technologies
energy-powered innovations are the Conserve water resources with
critical underpinning of our water supply improved stewardship
and treatment systems. Enable wider access to clean
water resources
Discussions of water today are
often focused on scarcity; by 2025,
1.8 billion people will live in water-
scarce conditions. New energy-driven
Water is essential to human life in all
innovations are needed to transform phases of energy production, and
how we collect, store, and transport energy-powered innovations are the
water so that all people will have
access to this vital resource. As new
critical underpinning of our water
technologies help with clean water, supply and treatment systems.
water conservation, flood prevention,
pollution control, data collection, and
infrastructure planning, a holistic view of
how water touches our lives is needed.

27 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.4.1. New technologies

are producing more clean
water from existing sources,
allowing humanity to access
a large untapped supply

Water insecurity is a pressing

global challenge, and
declining water quality has
become an issue in many
population centers due to
population growth, industrial
and agricultural practices, and
Photo credit:
climate change.
Concerns over freshwater availability related electricity demand. Biomimicry
motivate the need for better ways (mimicking biological processes) are FILTRATION USING MEMBRANE
to create clean water sources. being explored as one way to transform AND OTHER NANOTECHNOLOGY
Desalination and filtration technologies seawater to fresh water using less
are two ways of creating more drinkable energy. In Singapore, which built An estimated 1.3 million people die
water. its first desalination plant in 2005, every year from diarrheal diseases
progress toward more energy-efficient caused by a lack of safe drinking
DESALINATION desalination has come from learning water and basic sanitation. New
to imitate the biological processes that energy-driven innovations can be
Desalination is one way to provide allow mangrove plants and euryhaline infused into consumer technologies
more fresh drinking water to the worlds fish to extract seawater. Aquaporin, that help to create safe, drinkable
population. The process uses reverse a Danish company, is developing water. Membranes can act as a
osmosis to separate salt from seawater biomimicking membrane technology sieve to filter impurities from water
and produce drinkable water for human to use for desalination, and other and produce consumable water.
consumption. Years of development, plants around the world are using solar Some nanotechnology filtration uses
cost breakthroughs, and gains in the power to desalinate water more energy nanoparticles that destroy harmful
technologys efficiency have made efficiently. contaminants in water.
mega-desalination commercially viable.
The worlds largest desalination plant Many recent breakthroughs in
opened in California in 2015 after 20 membrane filtration have used
years of planning. Part of a $1 billion graphene, which is 100,000 times
public-private partnership, the plant is thinner than a strand of human hair.
capable of producing 50 million gallons The membrane tech could be adapted
of freshwater per day. for the micro or macro scaleto fit
either household faucets or be installed
Large-scale desalination has in large-scale industrial wastewater
traditionally been costly as well as treatment systems. At least one
energy intensive. Over the next 25 startup, G2O, is exploring commercial
years, the amount of energy used in the applications for desalination,
water sector is expected to more than decontamination, and wastewater
double, mostly because of desalination treatment, but there arent yet many
projects. By 2040, these desalination competitors actively commercializing
projects will account for 20% of water- this technology.

28 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

CASE: wAmrit
Using Nanotech to
Create Clean Water

Amritwhich stands for Arsenic

and Metal Removal by Indian
Technologyis a water filter that uses
nanotechnology to filter arsenic from
drinking water. Invented in 2012 by
Indian chemistry professor Thalappil
Pradeep, it can provide drinking
water for a year for as little as $16.
Its two-stage filtration process first
removes impurities using ions from
silver nanoparticles, and then removes
chemical impurities such as arsenic
using a variety of nanomaterials.
Amrits filtration system does not
need electricity or running water, as
it operates on gravity. The filtration
process can be completed within
minutes, thereby allowing arsenic to be
removed from drinking water in a short
Photo credit: Thalappil Pradeep
period of time.

The water purifier is offered in different

Most countries have some water sources with sizes and at various price points, and
dangerous levels of arsenic, but only now are we the price includes installation. The
beginning to recognize the magnitude of the problem. $16 filter provides water for homes,
while larger systems can be hooked
It is the most dangerous contaminant of drinking water up to schools or office buildings for
in terms of long-term health risks, and we must test all $500; hooking up a whole village costs
water sources worldwide as soon as possible. $1,200. The largest purifier is nine
feet tall and resembles a giant green
coconut. It can produce nearly 80
Allan Smith, University of California-Berkeley gallons of clean water per hour.

With $18 million in venture funding from

a U.S.-based nanotechnology company,
Amrit has plans to deploy globally and
to increase the range of their filtration
to include other hazardous chemicals,
Over including iron, lead, mercury, cadmium,
and copper.

people are affected by

water supplies

29 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives
Case: Learning from
Earlier Innovation Attempts

Several end-use innovations in creating

3.4.2. Improved stewardship clean water have not been successful
in reaching their hoped-for levels of
conserves water resources impact. Your team may find useful
by capturing a greater lessons in their experience as you think
proportion for reuse about how to develop an effective
solution that has a viable path to market.

The Watercone is a simple plastic cone

that can filter 1.5 liters of fresh water
from salt water each day using solar
New technologies are Photo credit: Accoustic Sensing Technology power. Invented in 2001, the Watercone,
which was field tested by NGOs, has
helping to conserve and received wide acclaim and many
The effective management of innovation awards. It has not, however,
reuse water resources wastewater is important for been successfully commercialized at
both public health and water scale. One challenge may lie in the
through infrastructure security reasons; wastewater is inherent limitations of the design; the
increasingly a reliable water source
monitoring and better for food production, but it must
area-to-water yielded ratio does not
scale well for addressing community
wastewater management. be adequately treated for safe
reuse. Pilus Energy has developed
water needs. Another problem may lay
in their focusing marketing efforts on
Acoustic Sensing Technology, a UK bactobotsgenetically enhanced, NGOs instead of developing a demand-
startup, uses acoustic signals and highly metabolic bacteria that can based path to market with end users.
analytics to provide more accurate, simultaneously sanitize wastewater
real-time monitoring of sewers and and generate electricity. Bactobots
pipes. Better data generated faster digest the pollutants in wastewater
means that infrastructure interventions and convert them into electricity,
can happen more quickly when which can be captured by an
problems arise. electrogenic bioreactor platform.

Photo credit: LifeStraw

The LifeStraw is another notable water

innovationthough perhaps not for
3.4.3. Innovations in water positive reasons. The hollow-membrane
straw is small, lightweight, and portable,
transport and access enable
and can effectively filter out bacteria.
both traditional and modern While initially hailed as a game-changing
practices to reach more innovation, the LifeStraw has since
come to be viewed by some as a
notable development failure. Critics
charge that the solution doesnt scale
to provide adequate amounts of water,
doesnt provide adequate filtering (it
cant filter out viruses), and wasnt
offered at a viable price point for its
Photo credit: Wello
Both of these innovations were guided
Improving how we transport and women to roll water from wells by good intentions. How could their
provide access to clean water can instead of carrying it on their heads, work be improved on? How could
take several forms. Mobile-enabled thus using kinetic energy in place of simple innovations be redesigned and
tools like Flowius facilitate pipeline human labor. Building water ATMs better distributed to have a greater
design to develop new piped water to dispense affordable clean water impact?
infrastructure in rural areas. is another solution that bypasses
traditional pipeline infrastructure.
Conversely, the Waterwheel from U.S. Smaat India has created a sustainable
venture Wello is a low-tech innovation business model for distributing low- READ MORE
designed for rural environments where cost water to 75 million customers in
there is no piped infrastructure. Its India through 2,800 water ATMs; the Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean
deceptively simple design yields big company also provides employment Water and Sanitation
benefits to women who are typically opportunities for the physically Innovation in the Water Sector: Reports
from the U.S. Environmental Protection
tasked with manual water collection. disabled. Agency highlight 10 market opportunities
The 50-liter round container allows Explore more current trends in water
innovation from the Global Water Summit
30 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.5. Energy provides pathways The health and human experience dimension of
transformation encourages teams to think about how
to better human functioning, energy-powered innovations can drive advancements in
extending lives and improving diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and quality-of-life medical
quality of life applications. New frontiers of health knowledge enabled by
energy-powered technologies are transforming the range of
opportunities for extending human health and functioning.

3.5.1. Expanding medical care provision

options and improving access across a innovations that enable the provision
greater variety of media promises to of healthcare both in the home and at
a distance have improved radically in
transform healthcare delivery performance and cost.

Hospital and outpatient health-services

systems are still unevenly developed in
Connected medicine, which many developing countries, and quality
encompasses the telehealth, remote healthcare is particularly inaccessible
medicine, and mobile health domains, for millions of people in rural areas and
makes it possible to obtain quality in large urban slums. In these markets
medical care without regard to especially, innovations in energy-
geography. Telehealth innovations enabled healthcare provision
mean that wellness promotion, disease are creating an opening for
prevention, diagnosis, and (when entrepreneurs literally everywhere to
appropriate) treatment can be provided offer lower cost, equal, or more effective
by qualified health professionals via healthcare options for consumers.
digital channels (mobile phone, tablet,
computer). At the other end of the Peer-to-peer health-service provision
spectrum, localized networks are is another mode of healthcare made
enabling a return to healthcare in the increasingly possible by energy
home when possible. For instance, connectivity. These as yet nascent
home visits by physicians in India and efforts signal a market demand for
self-governing networks of home- institutional innovations that bypass
care nurses in Holland demonstrate the existing healthcare infrastructure
how advances in e-medicine are to the extent possible. For example,
complemented by a return to medical Village Networks that have organized
house calls. throughout the United States pool
resources in their communities to
Not too long ago, most healthcare enable the provision of healthcare
services anywhere in the world were services and other life services within
provided in the home. The advent of the home.
modern medicine over the past century
changed this. In the United States in Finally, advances in Big Data-enabled
1930, house calls constituted 40% of diagnostic and decisionmaking
physician encounters; by 1950 that support are radically upending how
number had dropped to 10%; by 1980 we deliver healthcare. Combining Big
it was just 1%. In the past two to three Data analytics with the service models
decades, the advantages of hospital- listed above creates especially acute
based care have started to erode due to opportunities for further disruption in
the high cost and increased prevalence healthcare. For instance, robotic surgery
of hospital-acquired infections, among can offer improved access to advanced
other factors. At the same time, energy- surgical options either in the home or at
enabled technologies and organizational other locations far from formal care.
31 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

How can precision

medicine be brought
3.5.2. Broadening the spectrum of available
and accessible medical treatment options is affordably into
making better health outcomes possible
ascending markets?

New breakthroughs in As technology advances, neural

implants grow closer to allowing
Bioengineering (or genetic engineering)
involves the study and manipulation
neuroscience, genetic the human brain to interface with of individual genes. Advances in
an external computer system that bioengineering continue to help medical
medicine, and domains of facilitates the restoration of sensory practitioners study diseases and offer
performance, including vision and novel treatments: We can grow human
physical augmentation make it hearing. Neural implants have the tissue on plant leaves. Creative immune
potential to establish two-way engineering has reprogrammed cells
possible to treat and support communication flows between animate to fight cancer and regenerate tissue
our health in ways that would and inanimate objects, which could
have profound implications for human
growth. With gene editing, we can
eliminate dangerous mutations in utero
have been impossible only a health and learning ability. By linking and maybe even transplant organs from
electrochemical energy that powers the other species.
few years ago. human brain with electricity that powers
As markets for genetic and biomedicine
computer systems, these implantable
(and biopharma) accelerate their
technologies could help computers
growth, serious ethical questions arise
Underlining each of these innovations talk to the human brain and engage
about how equally gains in medical
are fascinating connections back to it in learning tasks that help restore
treatment will be distributed. Genetic
inventive ways of using energy to fuel deficits in human performance.
diseases have always been a shared
better health outcomes. Finding ways
vulnerability. With continued advances,
to bring these advances to consumers
parts of society may soon be able
would dramatically extend the collective PRECISION MEDICINE
to opt out of these risks. So how will
flourishing of human capabilities.
Precision medicine broadly refers that affect how we provide support to
to genetic and biomedicine. those who remain vulnerable? The only
AND NEURAL IMPLANTS Neuroprosthetics receive
Advancements in prosthetics have led electrochemical signals from
to the next generation of artificial limbs. the neurons in the brain to
Neuroprosthetics now allow the mind
to control prosthetics just like regular manipulate movement.
limbs. These prosthetics are also
modular, so healthcare practitioners and
patients can tailor-fit designs according
to the patients needs. This technology
could help people regain locomotor
control of certain bodily processes, and
hold promise to restore quality of life in
a variety of medical applications. For
example, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis
System is the first approved device
to restore some functional vision for
those living with blindness. It functions
through a surgically implanted epiretinal
prosthesis in and on the eye. Similarly,
so-called neuro-bots are a growing field
of brain-controlled prosthetic devices
that allow paralyzed or other bodily
disabled individuals to regain freedom
and the ability to interact with their

32 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

way to prevent genetic diseases from one example of how a social enterprise Bluetooth hearing aids are an example
becoming diseases of poverty, says can help empower more consumers of a low-cost approach to deploying
expert bioethicist Josephine Johnston, with frontier medicine. technology at scale, especially when
is to extend access to these services to integrated with smartphones that can
more consumers. be used as assistive listening devices.
At the risk of repetition, teams should Other creative wearable innovations
not attempt to field new discoveries translate various types of energy
that require a professional lab and Energy-based technological inputs into sensory outputs. The
a multimillion-dollar R&D budget. breakthroughs have broadly enabled us Sensory Substitution Vest translates
However, theres considerable work to overcome many sensory disabilities, audio captured by tiny embedded
to be done to take the existing but access to these empowering microphones into a grid of vibrational
breakthroughs in genetic and technologies has been unequally patterns. (Over time, a wearers brain
bioengineering and find ways to extend distributed because of cost barriers. learns how to hear the vibrations from
them to more consumers. Whats One in 20 people have some level of the interactive cloth.) LeChal Shoes
missing in the conversation is how disabling hearing loss, but of the 300 translate haptic inputs for the blind; the
we adopt all of these technologies to million people around the world who shoe insoles, which connect to a mobile
a society that considers well-being need hearing aids, each year only an app integrated with Google Maps,
for all, says Eleonore Pauwels, a estimated seven millionmost of them vibrate to tell users when and where to
bioethicist at the Wilson Center. There living in the U.S. and Europeare able turn in order to reach their destination.
is already an access problem. But what to afford them.
about when were editing out diseases?
A number of wearables are particularly
Who will pay for CRISPR? We are
promising, as they offer more
looking at much more disruption in the
affordable solutions to those with
hearing impairments: Bone-conducting
Somewhere between
Extending access to genetic knowledge headphones can transmit sound in 600 million and 1 billion
is a start. Startup Genome Medical is ways that bypass auditory deficits.
people need help with their
hearing, depending on the
degree of hearing loss.
Contrast that need with
the fact that the traditional
hearing aid industry is
selling only 10 million
products per year.

Photo credit: Wello

33 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Photo credit: Sensimed

Smart Contact Lenses

Every time we blink, we bathe

our eyes in a lubricating fluid.
That fluid, it turns out, This smart contact lens can
contains many of the health monitor glaucoma, using an measuring ocular pressure to monitor
biomarkers measured by antenna made of gold to glaucoma (which affects 60-70 million
people) and sleep apnea (100 million).
receive power and
standard blood tests. transmit data. As the technology matures, the range
of applications continues to expand.
Smart contact lens technologies
by eye blinks, or by near-field wireless Other lens technologies have been able
demonstrate how a common mass-
charging. Transmitting the data to correct color blindness. Researchers
market item is being reconceptualized
wirelessly enables real-time monitoring at the University of Washington have
as a way to provide energy-driven
by medical professionals. developed a smart contact lens with
health benefits to millions of people.
biosensors that can continuously
Smart lenses hold the promise for a
Over 100 million people wear contacts monitor temperature, heart rate, and
new way to non-invasively test and
daily for vision correction; the range chemical levels in the eye fluid. Using
monitor health conditions. Distinct
of applications for smart lensesand an embedded micro-antenna, the
from the retinal prostheses described
the potential consumer marketis lens reports health information over
above, an active or smart contact lens
even larger. A smart contact that can radio frequency. Samsung and Google
can be applied to the eye just like a
automatically monitor glucose levels also have patented lenses under
regular contact lens. Microchips and
would be life-changing for the 420 development, while Swiss company
sensors no larger than flecks of glitter
million people around the world who Sensimed has released its Triggerfish
are embedded in the contact lens,
must frequently monitor their blood lens in 33 countries. Future iterations
which enables them to monitor health
sugar as part of ongoing treatment for might offer monitoring of cholesterol,
markers. The lenses are powered either
diabetes. Other uses to date include sodium, potassium, and other biomarker
by harnessing kinetic energy generated
levels, potentially allowing medical
professionals to monitor chronic
conditions remotely.

Smart lenses are an apt reminder that

everyday items can become powerful
vectors for improving millions of lives.
How else might energy-driven advances
like sensors be applied to common
objects and improve health for millions?


Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good

Health and Wellbeing
The Digital Transformation of the
Photo credit: Sensimed Healthcare Industry
Center for Health Market Innovations
34 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Solar Toilet

Its possible to address multiple and has field-tested prototypes in India,

Photo credit: Caltech dimensions of transformation in China, and South Africa. It also has
innovative and creative ways. One partnered with Kohler to explore scaling
example of a cross-cutting solution is manufacturing and distribution.
the Solar Toilet, invented by a team of
Some 2.3 billion people students at Caltech in 2012. The potential market is large and the
social benefits of reaching this market
still lack access to basic The solar toilet, which is powered by
solar energy, converts human waste
enormous: 2.3 billion people still lack
access to basic toilet facilities, which
toilet facilities. into hydrogen gas for various uses
and into fertilizer for food production.
has dire consequences for public health.
Look at the promise of delivering
- World Health Organization This approach epitomizes energy-
powered innovation: it harnesses
proper sanitation to parts of the world
that will, lets face it, never have water
sustainable energy to provide sanitation or sewage infrastructure, says Rob
while generating further useful energy Zimmerman, Kohlers senior channel
inputs. The toilet system is completely manager for sustainability. If that can
self-contained and can run off-grid. be demonstrated, its going to be one
It requires no sewer connection and of the most significant breakthroughs of
can treat wastewater in just a few the 21st century.
hours. This has marked implications for
improved public health and sanitation Incorporating on-the-ground-learning
systems, particularly in regions without and capitalizing on advances in digital
access to electricity. technology have been integral to the
Solar Toilets continued development.
The Solar Toilet demonstrates how It has become increasingly clear that
winning ideas from startup competitions solutions like ours to the sanitation
can make their way to market. Its one problem are only going to work if
of many innovations to come out of the there is an easy plan in place for
Gates Foundations annual Reinvent the maintenance, said Cody Finke, a
Toilet Challenge, which calls for new graduate student on the Caltech team.
sanitation solutions that are safe and The team is now embedding sensor
sustainable. Since the competition, the technology in the units to respond to
team has continued to refine its design maintenance needs and streamline
operations, which will be essential to
deploying the technology at scale.
The world needs one billion toilets. We feel that our new self-diagnosing
Thats a big market. technology will enable what has been
kind of a Band-Aid fix to become an
actual sustainable fix to the sanitation
Jack Sim (a.k.a. Mr. Toilet), problem, Finke adds.
founder of World Toilet Organization

35 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.6. Energy is allowing more people

to access educational and knowledge
resources, opening new gateways
of opportunity

Participating fully in our world requires transformed by digital disruption, we

knowledge and basic education skills, have access to more information than
but access to such opportunities is ever before. Wikipedia alone now
unequally distributed. Global literacy comprises 45.6 million crowdsourced
rates have risen dramatically in the last articles in 288 languages, but this
100 years as educational inequality growth is dwarfed by our thirst for
gaps have narrowed, but we have much knowledge. We collectively ask at
more to do. An estimated one billion least two trillion questions online each
adults around the globe lack literacy year. As access to information grows,
skills. Although youth literacy rates have we have even more questions. Using
risen substantially, young women still energy-driven technologies,
lag behind, especially in sub-Saharan
Africa. How can we extend learning to
more people?
Its easier than ever to extend education How will we connect to and
opportunities to more people and help leverage the full range of human
them prepare for their future. With new intellect?
interfaces and new ways to access How can we further expand
information, weve continued to evolve the frontiers of our collective
our way of learning, from oral history knowledge?
traditions passed around the campfire
to erudite scholars poring over the
written word of the printing press to
absorbing words that exist only as
pixels on a screen.

As knowledge generation and

dissemination is fundamentally

Though sometimes implicit in the digital

developments that fuel new modes of
education, energy has been an omnipresent
catalyst for transforming how we learn
and know.

36 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.6.1 New ways of learning that

disrupt traditional schooling models are
extending educational opportunities
to more people

The way we typically

approach education is based
on a traditional schooling
model that has not evolved
significantly since it was first
developed in 18th-century
For most of the worlds 1.5 billion
schoolchildren, education models still
revolve primarily around classrooms EDTECH
that are organized according to age
and characterized by fixed duration and We can further harness technology in
standard curricula. This limits the ability the service of learning and teaching,
of many children to reach their full and enable teachers to do more with
potential; in developing and developed the resources they have while improving
countries alike, 25%-30% of children education quality for learners around the
leave school without basic proficiency world. New education technology, or
in at least one area of math, reading, or edtech, marries technological advances
science. with sound instructional methods.

Disruption of traditional learning has

begun, with virtual classrooms and
Personalized, adaptive learning
platforms in particular have substantial
How could
massive open online courses (MOOCs).
Industry leaders like EdX and Coursera
potential to improve educational
outcomes in developing contexts. In #edtech
address the
have opened up access to some of low-income countries, theres often
the worlds leading higher education a large degree of difference in how
instruction, while Khan Academy prepared children are when they enter
and others offer accessible lessons
aimed at younger learners. These sites
school, but research indicates that
remedial interventions targeting those intergenerational
literacy gap?
have opened access to education furthest behind can have a big impact
resources to millions, but theres rich on learning. Adaptive software, like
opportunity to extend these benefits to Mindspark, can assess a learners
all. Connectivity issues, teachers lack knowledge level and tailor content in
of tech savvy, and problems integrating response. Another interesting model of
some students into existing education note is Zaya, which has deployed an
structures have made it difficult for affordable blended learning model for
many schools in low-income countries the low-income Indian market.
to take advantage of these advances.
As the global edtech market continues Education around the world is a $4.4
to grow at a wild pace, theres an trillion annual marketand growing. The
increasing need for new sustainable edtech field is crowded and diverse,
pathways that spread and scale with an estimated 500+ vendors in 42
the low-cost interventions that help distinct market segments for higher
teachers do more with the resources education alone. The market continues
they have and help them empower to grow and is projected to reach $250
students to focus on learning. billion by 2020.
37 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives



Virtual reality (VR) and AR are beginning

to revolutionize the way we experience
and conceptualize information through
experiential learning.

Todays virtual and augmented

reality technology has created a virtual
classroom, where students from around
the world can meet and learn together,
notes futurist Charlie Fink. He adds:
In this virtual space, these global
students experience history, science
and mathematics as three-dimensional
concepts. They can visit WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY?
the outer reaches of
the solar system, travel
to Antarctica or take a
Augmented Reality (AR) is the digital
journey inside the human modification and enhancement of real life.
heart. This is not science With mobile apps, your devices camera
fiction. This is real and is
happening now.
can register your current environment, and
AR can then generate and superimpose
Virtual classrooms or 3D animations or video over the screen,
virtual worlds can also
foster collaborative
enhancing what you can see and experience.
learning environments
and enable human connections among
geographically dispersed learners. SCREENLESS DISPLAYS +
Virtual labs can provide hands-on INTERACTIVE PROJECTORS
experiential learning for students who
otherwise wouldnt have the chance to Just as the light bulb can illuminate our
participate. Research suggests that VR/ nights and extend our ability to study,
AR in education can increase student other new technologies are helping
motivation, improve collaboration, and transform our environments into constant
even enhance classroom management learning platforms. Using screenless
practices. displays and interactive projects, we
can put words and images on any flat
Mobile apps have been the main surface anywhere, which opens a whole
distribution channel so far, with apps new dimension for sharing knowledge.
like FETCH! Lunch Rush allowing
students to use their math skills Screenless displays, as 3D images
and visualize problems in real-world projected into space, can convey
scenarios. Building on early forays into information that a 2D image presented
the field such as Second Life, gains in on a screen cannot. Similarly, interactive
interactivity and realism are driving rapid projectors can change any flat surface
uptake in VR and in AR technologies in into a touch-screen whiteboard, and
particular. (AR alone is expected to be users (e.g., students) can have a hands-
a $120 billion market by 2020.) There is on learning experience by dynamically
tremendous opportunity to develop new manipulating the underlying visual.
solutions applied to new markets.
These relatively new technologies are
rapidly gaining market share, but they
have not achieved wide deployment
in learning settings. How could they
brought to scale for those would
benefit most?

38 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Case: Transcending
Language Barriers with
Real-Time Translation
3.6.2 Advances in connectivity and machine
learning are creating the potential to extend
human cognitive capacity
Its the Tower of Babel come to life: the
9.5 SDG target: Encourage innovation and substantially ability to translate spoken language in
increase the number of research and development workers real time could facilitate cross-cultural
communication and collaboration like
never before.
Energy-fueled gains in connectivity COLLABORATE MORE CLOSELY ON
increase the range of opportunities KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION
for making full and effective use of
the spectrum of human intellectual Increasingly, impressive gains in the
capabilities. This can take a frontiers of our knowledge about the
variety of forms, including building human condition have been driven
business models that leverage the by a consortium of actors working
complementarities between human collaboratively. The cell atlas is an
and machine learning, creating ongoing attempt to comprehensively
new ways to collaborate, and map the 37.2 trillion cells in the human
instrumentalizing the ways that the body. This ambitious effort could Photo credit: Waverly Labs
full continuum of neurodiversity can lead to more sophisticated models of
contribute to the betterment of all. human biology and striking advances
After several years of buzz, Waverly
in pharmaceutical development.
Labs will soon launch its Pilot
BALANCE HUMAN AND MACHINE Similarly, the BRAIN Initiativea
earbud, which aims to provide
INTELLIGENCE public-private Grand Challenge
real-time translation in 15 different
collaboration between foundations,
languages. With $5 million in pre-order
Computers can increasingly do more researchers, and governments to
crowdfunding, the Pilot is scheduled to
of what was regarded as the domain coordinate scientific effortshas
ship in fall 2017. Other incarnations are
of human intelligence. From gains yielded significant findings as to how
already here: Bragi recently debuted
in information processing, pattern the brain processes and encodes
the Dash Pro earphone with similar
recognition, and prediction, advanced information.
real-time translation, and Google
computing has moved into areas Translate continues to offer near-real-
requiring language comprehension and Leveraging the full range of human
time translation powered by advances in
intuition, and even creative expression. intellectual capacities will require
Artificial Intelligence.
Energy-powered innovation has continued improvement of how we
underpinned these advancements in coordinate research efforts. For
These developments are thrilling, but
digital; its time to think about how example, administrative drudgery
they prompt even more questions.
we can leverage complementary is one barrier that often keeps
Many consumerseven in wealthy
energy applications in the new balance researchers from maximizing their
countrieswill find the roughly $300
between machine and human learning. contributions to scientific progress,
price point out of reach. How can we
and the current system for matching
marry technological innovation with
As technology advances, high-level research talent with research needs
low-cost paths to reach more people?
social intelligence skills may become is inefficient. Faculty members often
How else might we collapse invisible
even more important than advanced manually search, screen, and select
but persistent obstacles and unleash
quantitative knowledge. Computers candidates in low-tech and low-
greater collaboration?
cant (yet) understand the human yield ways, like posting to limited
condition, making social intelligence distribution listservs.
skills such as empathy, leadership, and
collaborative teamworkincreasingly New platforms enabled by digital
essential. innovations make it possible to imagine
designing more efficient solutions
and even more efficient business
arrangements. For instance, cloud-
networked research laboratories allow Could new
virtual biotech startups to dramatically
cut fixed overhead costs like full-time platforms
employees and lab space. This enables
ventures to be more nimble and flexible
about how they spend R&D dollars more efficient knowledge
to achieve new breakthroughs. Other
technological breakthroughs, such as sharing and collaboration
efforts to provide real-time translation
devices, will continue to break down
in other professional
traditional barriers to collaboration. domains?
39 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives



About 1% of the worlds population is

thought to have some form of autism
spectrum disorder; that seemingly small
number translates into tens of millions

How could those

of people. People with autism have
always been part of humanity, but many
have been excluded from mainstream
daily life. One study found that a third
of young adults with autism did not
with different
have a job or receive an education after
high school. In recent years, a broader
mental health
movement to recognize and appreciate
neurological differences has emerged. backgrounds
What was once viewed as an intellectual be connected
disability is increasingly understood as a
potential key source of diversityand a
competitive advantage in the workplace.
to economic
While corporate programs so far have
focused on those with autism, it may
opportunities that
be possible to reach out to other types
of neurodiverse individuals, including capitalize on their
those with ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia,
social anxiety, and other mental health unique skills?
conditions. Doing so effectively requires
rethinking work arrangements, finding
suitable accommodations, and creating
innovative business models.

Photo credit: Specialisterne

Case: Specialisterne
Intelligence Inclusivity Is Smart Business

In 2013, German multinational Those with autism often possess

skills well-suited to certain types of
software giant SAP AG knowledge work, like excellent memory
or pattern recognition, or an ability
announced it would hire to focus deeply on a repetitive task.
These skills mean those on the autism through special understanding and
hundreds of people diagnosed spectrum can be valuable employees. managementwith companies to
with autism. A leading innovator in helping
perform IT tasks such as software
testing or data and quality control.
Today the company continues to work companies leverage the unique
toward the goal of having people with skills of neuro-atypical individuals is Building inclusive models extends
autism comprise 1% of its workforce Specialisterne, a Danish company full participation to those who think
by 2020. But this isnt a new corporate founded by Thorkil Sonne in 2004. differentlyand its smart business. The
social responsibility initiativeits a Specialisterne sees hiring individuals challenge now is to continue leveraging
sound business decision. with autism not as a charitable gesture energy-driven innovations that enable
but as a savvy move that provides greater collaboration and extend
The innovation economy means that companies with a strategic advantage. opportunities to other under-included
different skillsets are increasingly The company trains and places groups of people. As Specialisternes
valuable, and companies have begun specialist peoplespecialists with a partnerships demonstrate, the results
to reorganize operations accordingly. business potential that can be realized benefit everyone
40 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

3.6.3. Managing information along the ever-

expanding frontier of collective knowledge
holds opportunities to connect people with
their learning needs more effectively

Knowledge and information flows multisided market with unique value

are exploding so rapidly that they are propositions. Decades ago, it would
difficult to quantify. Several years ago, have seemed improbable that an $82
Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Googles billion industry would revolve around
parent Alphabet, observed that we answering questions for free. New
create as much information in two days approaches that can triage and filter
as we did from the dawn of human these information flows will further
history through 2003. The pace has expand the limits of what it is possible
since only accelerated. to know and address an ever-growing
market of consumers thirsty for better
The number of scientific articles information.
published annually has been rising
rapidly for decades, and over the
last 100 years, the growth in annual
global patent applications has been The gap between questions and
exponential.8 Old ideas about doubling
the rate of knowledge production are
answers is our ignorance, and it is
dwarfed by the output enabled by growing exponentially.7
digital connectivity. We now collectively Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired
create at least 8 million new songs each
year, 2 million new books, 16,000 new
films, 30 billion blog posts, 182 billion
tweets, and 400,000 new products.9

As the availability of information and

data explodes, we need better ways
to help people connect with and
access whats most valuable to them.
The attention economy is a complex,
Sustainable Development Goal 4:
Quality education
Center for Education Innovations
Journeys to Scale:
Report on Education Innovations

41 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

5. Energy-powered innovations
are augmenting our ability to
lead meaningful lives

Energy-powered innovations can

augment our ability to lead meaningful
lives. Throughout human history, and
The best way to predict the especially for the past two centuries,
humanity has advanced by harnessing
future is to invent it. energy to extend human capabilities. the most famous energy innovators,
Alan Kay, computer scientist Steam power made our hands do succeeded in spreading light
more and extended the reach of our throughout the United States as much
bodies. Electrification gave entire cities because of his business acumen and
the power to see at night. The internal vision as because of his inventiveness.
combustion engine and then the jet
engine have allowed us to move our Were now on the precipice of even
bodies through space in previously more astounding transformations, but
unimaginable ways. this progress is not inevitable. Vision
and hard work are required to realize
Each of these technologies used this new world and to build social
energy-powered innovations to help enterprises that can deliver solutions
humans prosper and reach their full to broad markets. Cheaper, more
potential. The inventors deployed their affordable, and cleaner energy sources
innovations in creative ways using could radically transform the lives of
business endeavors and public-private millionsbut only if the products and
partnerships. Thomas Edison, one of services are developed and made
available to extend peoples capabilities
and move their lives forward.

Although energy-powered innovations

Take a nascent industry have propelled the human race forward,

not all gains have been shared equally.
By rethinking how to use energy, we
and formalize it can create breakthrough enterprises
that reimagine our world, collapse
traditional barriers such as distance,

Find a technology and break traditional divides between

the poor and rich, urban and rural,

and bring it to scale neurotypical and neurodivergent,

conventionally abled and differently
abled, the educated and those without
access to educational opportunities.
Connect with a neglected market As the pace of change accelerates,

and serve it there will be unprecedented

opportunities to create and contribute
solutions that can broadly benefit

Look into the future


and shape it
42 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Community interaction:
Businesses work hand-in-hand with
local communities and develop a deep
understanding of local norms, culture,
and social issues.

Business Models Partnerships:

for Developing Markets Companies collaborate with other
businesses, government organizations,
or nonprofit groups to garner support
and share ideas and resources.

Surviving and growing in [developing Local capacity-building:

markets] is very different than in a
typical commercial enterprise. There A community may not have typical
are a lot of people working . . . on the distribution channels, while the people
small scale, but the problem becomes in the community may lack product
how they can scale the programs up knowledge and have little experience
and make them profitable, notes with technology. Consider potential
Inara Scott, an Oregon researcher with customers as both producers and
expertise in off-grid solar business consumers, train local entrepreneurs as
models. distributors, marketers, and equipment
installation/repair technicians.
When it comes to working with
renewable energy technologies in base- Address unique barriers:
of-the-pyramid markets, Scott finds that Depending on the sector and solution,
successful enterprises frequently have businesses need to address obstacles
four core pillars: faced by consumers, such as providing
financing for upfront costs, and to think
creatively about how to develop multiple
distribution networks that work for local

43 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Hult Prize Foundation

Chief Operating Officer
Hult Prize Foundation

Policy Design Lab

Policy Design Lab


Special thanks to the following individuals for research and editorial support:

Sharon Benzoni
Timothy Bushman

The Hult Prize Foundation has compiled research for this case from known and credible sources. The
authors have attempted to use accurate information as much as dynamic data can be accurately measured
and reported. The authors explicitly disclaim to the extent permitted by law responsibility for the accuracy,
content, or availability of information located throughout this case or for any damage incurred owing to use
of the information contained therein.

44 TRANSFORM: Harnessing the Power of Energy to Transform Lives

Selected Sources and Reference Materials

1) Diamandis, Peter, and Steven Kotler. Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. New York: Free Press,
2012, p. 155.
2) Smil, Vaclav. Energy and Civilization: A History. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2017.
3) Smil, Vaclav. Energy: A Beginners Guide. London: Oneworld Publications (Kindle Locations 1325-1326), 2017 2nd edition.
4) Smil, Energy.
5) Smil, Energy and Civilization.
6) Smil, Energy.
7) Kelly, Kevin. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.
London: Penguin Books, 2017, p. 284.
8) Kelly, The Inevitable, p. 283.
9) Kelly, The Inevitable, p. 165.
10) McAfee, Andrew, and Erik Brynjolfsson. Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.