WorldAffairs

Innovation and entrepreneurship often conjure images of Silicon Valley and startups growing out of garages. But this sort of creativity is found all over the world, with innovators operating in black markets and informal economies and developing original solutions to many and diverse challenges.

What does innovation look like at the margins of business and society? What lessons can we learn from the practices of hackers, pirates, gang members and dissidents, and how can we apply these ideas to formal markets? Alexa Clay will share stories of the underground innovators that make up what she calls the Misfit Economy.

Speaker Alexa Clay is Co-founder of the League of Intrapreneurs.

Jason Rissman, Managing Director of OpenIDEO, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1486

Direct download: 07_29_15_Alexa_Clay.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:29am PST

In September, UN member states will vote on the Sustainable Development Goals, which, if approved, will come into effect in January 2016. The second of these 17 goals calls for ending hunger and achieving food security. This is an ambitious target to hit by 2030 — in the world today, about one in nine people do not have enough to eat.

As the global population continues its rapid growth, this problem seems likely to grow as well. By 2050, the world will have 2 billion more mouths to feed, many of whom will be born in rice-producing and -consuming countries. Today, about two-thirds of the world’s hungry live in Asia, where water-intensive rice is a staple crop, raising questions about the role of climate change and water scarcity in the food security equation. How can we increase production while protecting the environment and its limited resources? To what extent will genetic engineering or a change in diets be necessary to achieve this goal? How can we ensure food security for a planet of nine billion?

Speaker Josette Lewis, Associate Director of the World Food Center at UC Davis, and Robert Stewart Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, will be in discussion.

Andrew Donohue, Senior Editor at Reveal, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1491

Direct download: 07_28_15_Feeding_Billion.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:19am PST

What if you could combine the adaptability, agility and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization?

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional military leadership approaches were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly and seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment and training—but none of that seemed to matter.

To defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the task force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to extend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade or two earlier. The task force became a “team of teams”—faster, flatter, more flexible—and beat back Al Qaeda.

McChrystal will discuss the challenges he and his team faced in Iraq and how they have be relevant to businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. He argues that the team of teams' strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA and has the potential to transform organizations large and small.

Speaker Stanley McChrystal, US Army General (Ret.) and Co-founder and Partner, McChrystal Group, is in conversation with Joseph H. Felter, US Army Colonel (Ret.) and Board Member of the Marines' Memorial Association.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1487

Direct download: 07_15_15_General_McChrystal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:18am PST

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement being negotiated among 12 countries, including the US, has sparked a heated debate about trade agreements with many proponents and detractors speaking out about the potential economic impact of the TPP on the US economy. Some key areas in the agreement include: intellectual property rights, telecommunications, state-owned enterprises, investment, labor and environmental standards. Attention has also been focused on the negotiating process and the role of Congress in setting negotiating objectives and interacting with the executive branch in the implementation of those objectives.

Join us for a discussion about the projected near and longer-term economic and other benefits of the TPP, and why the TPP has become the centerpiece of President Obama’s global trade agenda.

Speaker Timothy Reif is General Counsel of Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Lionel C. Johnson, President of the Pacific Pension Institute, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1490

Direct download: 07_20_15_Timothy_Reif.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:14am PST

In 2010, the UN passed a resolution recognizing access to water as a basic human right. The realization of this right is becoming increasingly difficult, as climate change disrupts rainfall and the growing global population places greater demands on this limited resource.

In the face of the current drought, California is seeking ways to cut back on water usage and find alternate sources to meet domestic, agricultural and other demands. And this isn't an isolated incident – countries around the world are facing similar challenges and looking for solutions of their own. In Brazil, a country that has one-eighth of the world’s fresh water, Sao Paolo is facing a critical water shortage, with water reserves dropping below 10 percent. India is struggling to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population and address pollution that makes much of the available water unsafe for use. Israel has built five desalinization plants since 2005, which provide about 80 percent of the country’s water for domestic use – but some worry about the environmental consequences of this solution. Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, has turned to desalination plants as well, with mixed results.

How can countries adapt, and what solutions are already being implemented successfully? What role should governments, businesses and individuals play in addressing this challenge? As water scarcity becomes more common, how can we ensure that the right to water is met?

Speaker Peter Gleick is the President and Co-Founder of the Pacific Institute.

Craig Miller, Science Editor at KQED, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1485

Direct download: 07_15_15_Peter_Gleick.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:23am PST

People around the world will interact with Africa very differently over the coming decades. They will be more likely to trade stocks in Ghana, work for companies doing business on the continent and learn the names of African tech moguls and billionaires. The old narrative of an Africa disconnected from the global economy and mired in conflict is rapidly fading as the continent transforms itself into a global powerhouse. Pushing this transformation is a wave of modernization, technological innovations and a growing pool of talented Africans changing their countries not only from within but also from abroad. What impact will Silicon Valley have on the tech boom in Africa? How should policy makers and business leaders view these changes throughout the continent? 

This panel discussion will feature expert researchers and entrepreneurs with deep connections to Africa and its business community. Jake Bright and Aubrey Hruby will offer a nuanced and data-rich analysis to a complex continent while reconciling its challenges with rapid progress. Entrepreneur Chris Folayan will discuss his work developing new platforms to bring e-commerce to Nigeria and other nations.

The conversation is moderated by Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor at The New York Times.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1488

Direct download: 07_08_15_Next_Africa.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:35am PST

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