The future of work is in the balance, we’re told. On one hand, and resulting services have advanced to such a stage that freelancing and a reduced working week is now more feasible than ever, while on the other hand increased automation threatens jobs at multiple levels, and wages have been disconnected from productivity in the West for several decades now. This DIF theme will explore whether or not we can design an economy in which we effectively utilise and reward people’s talents; one which has them spending more time with their families and less on the daily commute. As someone once said, ‘change is certain, progress is not’.
More than ever, our cities concentrate resources, energy and information. With the number of people living in cities expected to grow by 2.5 billion over the next three decades, existing and future cities will face both challenge and opportunity as long-held wisdom on how these complex systems work is turned upside-down.
Looking at construction alone, the built environment sector remains wasteful. However, new technologies are exploring how buildings are made and un-made, and business models are emerging that make use of underutilised spaces and materials. But cities are much more than brick and mortar. This DIF 2016 theme will draw on bleeding-edge trends in mobility, urban farming and resource flows, asking how we can make tomorrow’s cities great places to live which are not just ‘smart’, but regenerative, too.
Most global economic, social and environmental indicators show a troubling negative trend, which will surely be exacerbated by a rising world population. The time for tweaks to a system that has been faltering for several decades is over. It’s time for a change of operating system. In this DIF 2016 theme, our guests will explore how the rules of the game could be changed to encourage a different way of living, of organising society, of doing business.