Personal Blog of Joe Brewer

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

How Design Can Be Used to Solve Global Problems

In Global Integration, Social Change on February 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm

It is often thought that design only applies to the creation of gimmicky products and cute images, yet the most pressing challenges in the world can only be understood through a deeper meaning of design that includes how problems and solutions are analyzed and addressed.  In this video, I explain how design is essential for solving global problems — especially those that are most challenging and potentially catastrophic for humanity.

What do you think?  How can design be used to identify deficiencies in existing systems — be they financial, political, cultural, or what have you?  And once such deficiencies are discovered, how can design be used as a creative process for implementing social innovations that replace or update these deficient systems?

Towards A Globally-Focused Earth Simulation Center

In Complex Systems, Global Integration on February 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

In the last few months, I have been honored to work with the International Centre for Earth Simulation (ICES) in Geneva, Switzerland, which has the ambitious goal of creating a new set of capabilities for simulating and visualizing the dynamic Earth in a fully integrated manner.  My primary responsibility so far has been to assist in the creation of an overview document that conveys the scope and vision for this inspiring effort.  And now I am excited to announce that it is available to the public.  Click the image to download it as a PDF.

(Note: It’s a large 9 MB file!)

The ICES Foundation was founded by Bob Bishop, with whom I worked closely to co-create this important piece of work.  Feel free to inquire with me directly about our progress in bringing ICES closer to reality.  This is absolutely the most ambitious endeavor I’ve ever been a part of.  It is appropriately at a global scale grand enough to match the level of highly complex challenges we must all face together in the coming decades.

In Solidarity,

Joe Brewer
Innovation Strategist

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Complex Issues

In Complex Systems, Global Integration, Human Behavior, Social Change on February 9, 2012 at 9:18 am

I was recently interviewed by Bhavani Prakash at Eco Walk the Talk about cognitive policy, large-scale behavior change, deep history, and the transition to sustainability.  We explored the importance of cross-disciplinary thinking for addressing global challenges.

Here’s an excerpt:

So what we’re seeing now with these global social movements, is an acceleration of change that goes back at least 3 decades. In a global sense, we can see the rise of the environmental movement, which started about a hundred years ago and catapulted in the 1960s with Rachel Carson, and what’s called the modern environmental movement. We’ve seen the beginning of the collapse of the empire with post colonialism, from the independence of India, the rise of nation states, and social democracies. Going back 70 or 80 years, fairly quick and big changes have been happening. Now it’s much faster still.

Let’s take ‘Occupy Wall Street’ – it has been incredibly successful, in a short period of time. It has been only with us for a few months and it has already changed the way that people talk about the economy and social issues all around the world. Now maybe Occupy Wall Street won’t lead to the changes that we need, but the scale of impact would have been very difficult to predict. Imagine you were sitting and watching the world in the beginning of August 2011, you probably wouldn’t have anticipated that something like Occupy Wall Street would have come into being and have such an effect in the last few months.

That is an indicator of how quickly change is coming and the fact that change is coming quickly tells us that we are in the middle of one of those phased transitions. Change is happening very quickly because the entire system is reorienting itself. I think there’ll be a much bigger, deeper change in the next few years.

Read the entire interview here.