5 Bold Challenges For The New Decade
The past decade has seen no shortage of global challenges. What will we face in the next decade, and how will we rise to the challenge of meeting them?
From clean drinking water to zero-carbon impact cities, there are hundreds of bold projects in development or execution — projects that have the potential to redefine our realities and solve some of the most daunting challenges that humanity faces.
In the previous two posts in this series, we discussed the necessity of vision and how we must reimagine the “iron triangle” to manage bold projects. In this post, we will look at five big challenges that will require bold projects to solve.
We are already experiencing climate change — rising temperatures, droughts, and more frequent wildfires, changing weather patterns, and a rising sea — but the challenges these changes present are only now becoming clear, and they will require bold projects to overcome. U.N. scientists have laid out the dramatic changes required to slow the rate of climate change, all of which will require sacrifice and innovation.
An Aging Population
According to the U.N., the global population aged 60 years or older has doubled since 1980, numbering over 962 million in 2017. This number is expected to double again by 2050 when it is projected to reach nearly 2.1 billion. And people are living longer than ever. This aging population will require care, and right now, the infrastructure to provide it is woefully unprepared.
The World Health Organization estimates that 2 to 3 million deaths are prevented every year through immunization against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and measles. In some cases, diseases that once decimated large populations have been completely or very nearly eradicated, as is the case with smallpox and polio. However, vaccine-preventable diseases still cause 1.5 million deaths each year, and some diseases that had been practically wiped out have made a resurgence in recent years. Additionally, epidemics of recent years have shown us just how susceptible we are to communicable diseases on a global scale.
In 2017, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation released a shocking report indicating that, by 2050, there would be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And, a more recent report found that there may be up to a million times more microplastics — minuscule pieces of broken-down plastic — in the ocean than we previously thought, threatening ocean life and an essential piece of the global food supply. Removing this waste, and reducing the amount of plastic waste we produce, are daunting challenges that have been taken on by scientists and not-for-profits alike.
Regulating and Restoring Trust in the Digital Landscape
At the dawn of the internet age, we envisioned the world wide web and, more recently, social media, as an online utopia where information was democratized, thoughtful debate could be freely shared, and we could make enormous leaps forward and grow together as a global society. Over the last decade, that hopefulness has been eroded by increasingly disappointing revelations about how everyone, from individuals to governments to corporations, uses our data.
What is ahead?
Although each of these challenges is daunting, the human race has proven resilient in the face of such challenges before. The only true constraints for bold projects are the limits of our vision and imagination, and today’s project managers are uniquely positioned to make achievable previously impossible ideas.
Now go and be bold!