7 Building Blocks for Equitable Innovation

7 Building Blocks for Equitable Innovation

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” – Nelson Mandela How do we bring equity into the innovation sector? It requires going beyond a charity model and leading with social justice, diversity, and the environment. It necessitates creating new systems of inclusive innovation that have triple bottom line benefits – social, environmental, profit. Last month I made the case for prioritizing equity and sustainability in research and technology innovation. Here are seven building blocks that support a research and innovation sector that innovates for the benefit of all communities and the environment we inhabit. Clear Priorities | Innovators and researchers should set bold and actionable priorities that include equity…
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Awakening the Equitable Innovator

Awakening the Equitable Innovator

Research and innovation for a sustainable and equitable world In last month’s issue of Wired Magazine, President Obama urged artificial intelligence (AI) researchers to embrace moral responsibilities and explore issues such as diversity, job loss, wealth gaps, and generally keeping this powerful innovation in the hands of “good.” In the same article, Joi Ito of MIT expressed his concern that AI has been primarily driven by a “predominantly male gang of kids, mostly white… who are more comfortable talking to computers than to human beings [and prefer not] to worry about all the messy stuff like politics and society.” In one of several Star Trek references made throughout the interview, Ito…
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Too Big to Succeed?

Too Big to Succeed?

The United Nations climate talks in Paris, also known as COP21, carried a distinct air of excitement along with a desperate quest for something big, monumental, epic, and transformative. We saw events with big names, big venues, big businesses, big rhetoric. This was in large part due to the enormity of the task at hand: Finalize a global accord that mobilizes international action against arguably the largest threat to humankind and the planet. With close to 200 countries immediately signing on to the Paris Agreement, it without a doubt constitutes a momentous milestone in the fight against climate change – but will it be enough? Big is not always better…
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What California’s Landmark Climate Legislation Means for Communities of Color

What California’s Landmark Climate Legislation Means for Communities of Color

Today Governor Brown signed into law the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, also known as SB 350. This landmark bill sets transformative targets and policies that will get California to 50 percent renewable energy, double statewide energy efficiency savings, and promote the mass adoption of electric vehicles on California’s roads, all by the year 2030. SB 350 and supporting policies mark a transition away from a fossil fuel economy and toward a clean energy economy in California. On their own, these targets will result in cleaner air, lower electricity bills, and less trips to the pump for Californians. Beyond this, however, the following bullet points summarize the key…
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Representing the Climate Movement

Representing the Climate Movement

“Those who are already feeling the effects of climate change don’t have time to deny it — they’re busy dealing with it.” – President Obama Thousands of environmental justice and equity organizations are fighting on the frontlines against environmental and climate injustices, and have been doing so for decades.  From fighting drought-induced food insecurity in Ethiopia to planting trees to provide shade and capture carbon in Oakland, California, communities of color have had no choice but to survive and innovate against the impacts of climate change. Well over 60% of blacks and Latinos in California say air pollution is a problem and the effects of climate change have already begun.…
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