The Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies (IGTT) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab recently published a groundbreaking report entitled 50 Breakthroughs: Critical Scientific and Technological Advances Needed for Sustainable Global Development. Over two years in the making, the study takes a forward look at those innovations that don’t yet exist, but are feasible, and would make a huge difference in furthering sustainable growth.
The report provides an important signpost to inventors, designers, investors and philanthropists, detailing the sorts of simple advances that are most needed from technologists in order to effectively deal with 21st century challenges. These technologies to defeat poverty address areas as diverse as food security, human rights, climate change and digital inclusion, among others. The report focuses its ideas primarily on the poverty-stricken populations of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
As the report spells out, “[The ideas] represent breakthroughs because they have to be dramatically different….available at a fraction of the cost, requiring only a fraction of the energy, significantly less reliant on technical skills to operate, not needing elaborate infrastructure, and being generally robust and maintenance-free.”