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Dreaming up tomorrow’s world: the aim of the World Dream Forum


The World Dream Forum, led by Ideas Laboratory and Atelier Arts Sciences, and supported by SUEZ, took place in Grenoble, France on 7 October. The event gathered together many experts, makers and project leaders around keynote speakers Jeremy Rifkin and Navi Radjou to examine current social models and highlight emerging ones. Here we focus on the two main theories presented and discussed at this event.

Credit: World Dream Forum

With our economic models flagging, is a third industrial revolution under way?

Jeremy Rifkin, the American essayist and futurist, presented his vision of a third industrial revolution in action, potentially leading to the rise of a zero marginal cost society. The concurrent development of new modes of communication, new transport systems and the emergence of new forms of energy was the starting point of the first two industrial revolutions. Today, the new possibilities provided by the Internet and the development of renewable energy give a glimpse of the dawning of a third industrial revolution, where principles of open communication could be applied to energy production. Everyone would become a producer of renewable energy for decentralised distribution via a smart grid. The information Internet we know today would then be complemented by an energy internet, and by a logistics internet which would facilitate, for example, the development of new transport systems run entirely by automatic GPS guidance. This internet trio would form an Internet of Things, the foundation of a sharing economy which would no longer rely on fossil fuels.
To find out more about the work of Jeremy Rifkin, go to:

Is frugal innovation an answer to dwindling resources?

In turn, the innovation and leadership consultant, Navi Radjou considered frugal innovation, or how to produce more with less. “The only resource that will never run out is human ingenuity” he explained. It is this ingenuity that is giving rise to new models of production, inspired by innovators in developing countries. Such “do-it-yourself” makers are not trying to create a perfect solution, but work from the stock of resources at hand to develop a concrete solution for an identified need. There are many instances of this, such as the man in India who devised a clay refrigerator that keeps food cool without using electricity, or the advertising billboard developed in Peru, which collects moisture from the air to produce drinking water. In western countries, awareness of the scarcity of natural resources is giving rise to new, more frugal, methods of production and consumption. The growth of the sharing economy provides an illustration of this. While it mainly involves individuals at present, applying it to companies and B2B markets represents the future. Industrial symbiosis is already occurring, as at the Kalundborg eco-industrial park where what is waste material for some becomes raw materials for others.
To find out more about frugal innovation, go to:

See all the World Dream Forum debates at:

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