How we can imagine the world of tomorrow

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The notion of Mindset was at the heart of the Ekaterinburg symposium on the Global Mind. Nobel Peace Prize Winner Muhammad Yunus and Asit K. Biswas, Founder of Third World Centre for Water, seized this concept head on to bring us to question our way of seeing the world and the economy.

« We have to challenge prevailing wisdoms » stated M. Biswas as an introduction to his speech. According to him, our current problems are not caused by ineffective technologies, lack of money or inexperience. They are linked to our mindset that impedes us to find alternative solutions. This water specialist illustrates his point of view with an example he knows well: while hundreds of millions of people don't have access to water, one third of water consumption is wasted. In his opinion, with current technologies, we should be able to reach an energy consumption equivalent to half of that of 1990. "We are too greedy" added the geologist and journalist Simon Winchester during the symposium.

Muhammad Yunus speaking at the Symposium on Global Mind © Photo : press service of the Global Mind Symposium

Muhammad Yunus speaking at the Symposium on Global Mind
© Photo : press service of the Global Mind Symposium

For Muhammad Yunus, the biggest obstacle to sustainable globalization is the mindset of economic stake-holders who follow the rules of a close minded "operating system" that impedes thinking out of the box.

Social business and new management

The biggest flaw of this "operating system" is, according to Mr. Yunus, that it establishes profit as an end and not a means. To him, this mindset is disconnected from the reality of life and the sources of happiness. Jacques Attali said during the promotion of the LH Forum in 2012: "one of the important trends brought on by globalization is the awareness that our happiness depends on the happiness of others". This awareness is put into practice by a number of initiatives that aim at completing economic globalization by a social and political globalization, so that everyone can benefit from it.

Asit K. Biswas speaking at the Symposium on Global Mind © Photo : press service of the Global Mind Symposium

Asit K. Biswas speaking at the Symposium on Global Mind
© Photo : press service of the Global Mind Symposium

 Mr. Biswas brought forth the case of Phnom Penh. In 1983, the capital of Cambodia wasted 80% of its water consumption. By changing its water management methods, the city lowered this number to only 7% in 20 years. Change is possible, whatever the economic and political context may be.

Mr. Yunus referred to several initiatives developed by multinational companies in Bangladesh like Danone that elaborated a yoghurt for children in order to fight against malnutrition or Veolia that created a joint venture to better the access to drinkable water.

It is very important, Mr. Biswas said, to share these « success stories » in order to encourage new ones.

 

The role of Expos in this context

In a globalized world where Internet gives access to live news, informs on innovations and shares the latest trends, World Expos should offer more than a stage where countries can present their inventions and discoveries. For the BIE, they should also be a discussion platform, a unique hub where stake-holders can come up with solutions to world issues.

According to Mr. Yunus, Expos should create a think tank, an imagination lab, to sketch the world we want 20 years from now and write the guidelines to reach that world. « People with dreams will change how firms are managed » he said at the end of our interview.

May the dreams begin!