ZURICH—The issues, which define the 21st century are unfolding daily.  As populations grow and urban centers expand, humanity’s mutual needs increasingly collide. Clean water, fresh air, renewable energy and climate change are challenges confronting all nations collectively. Coming up with the solutions will take an inter-disciplinary approach. Most importantly, solutions will not come from government heads—or, at least not from government heads alone. For the first time in history, mind-boggling technological advancements have democratized solution-making. Now more than ever, every single individual is empowered to create sweeping change for humanity.

For more than a decade, our team of futurists at Diplomatic Courier and our Think Tank, The World in 2050, have been concerned with the state of the world.  Our global summits have tackled the future of diplomacy; philanthropy; connected cities; jobs and education; and, much more. We don’t profess to be fortunetellers. Rather, we embrace the skills, practices, and behaviors of futurists.

It is behind this backdrop that we are thrilled to announce the launch of a unique new program aimed at identifying and elevating a new group of solutionists from around the world.

The Olympics of Innovation, a yearly global innovation list, will champion top ideas, startups, and innovations in seven categories. The program will focus on solutions in seven clusters, each representing a megatrend that will be transformative for our long-term future.

Future of Society. There is no question we will solve to live longer, work less, and know more than ever before. But what will we do in this post-employment world?  Who will win? How will society deal with the knowledge and new social classes (those who have or create the knowledge and those who consume it)?  Supercomputers, drones, robots, transformative gadgets, quantum computing, 3D Printers, etc. These advancements are allowing us to re-imagine and re-engineer our world. But what will they mean for the Future Society?

Future of Humanity. We know Artificial Intelligence (AI) will reign supreme in our imaginations but the World in 2050 will not be a battleground between AIs and humans. Augmented humans will test the limits of humanity and they are already walking among us now. Biotechnology and gene editing are allowing us to engineer a new kind of human.

Future of Energy. Humans’ impact on the planet is so irreversibly profound that exploring alternative forms of energy will be paramount to humanity’s survival in the long term. Innovations and cutting-edge research is already in the works but the goal of our generation will be to become less and less dependent (and eventually completely independent) from fossil fuels

Future of Health. On a large scale, humanity is struggling against bacteria and disease as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Today our focus is on primary prevention (intervening before a disease is developed) or secondary prevention (preventing progression of a disease when you are already sick). In the near future, we will be solving for “primordial prevention”, looking at the prevention of the risk factors in the first place, and we will treat age as a disease that not only can be “cured” but can be prevented.

Future of Transportation. Flying cars, the Hyperloop, intergalactic travel? These are not Sci-Fi visions of the future but the world now. At the famous World’s Fair in New York in 1939, GM envisioned a futuristic society where highways connected the rural to the urban. With 70% of the world’s population moving to the urban sphere in the coming decades, innovating in the transportation realm will be paramount.

Off This World. Space is the next great frontier for our civilization and becoming a multi-planetary species is one of the most important future forward achievements we can strive for. Advancements in space flight and moonshots by both private sector (SpaceX and Virgin Galactic) and government (UAE’s Mars 2117 initiative) will make ours the first Mars Generation.

Artistic Visions of the Future. What about art, poetry, or inventions for things and issues that have not even been imagined yet? What is the role of pop culture or film in solving for the future? This category is for the dreamers who will marry the practical to the whimsical.

Who should be a part of this? Whether you are a writer or an engineer, a student or a business leader, we want you to be a part of this.  We want to use our global platform and connections to showcase your work and help take you to the next level: recognition, partnerships, and even funding. To learn more and to apply visit www.2050challenge.com.

Article by

Ana C. Rold

Ana C. Rold is the Founder and CEO of Diplomatic Courier and World in 2050.