Gunter Pauli, 2010

The Blue Economy innovations are inspired by nature and provide tools for achieving true economic sustainability. Economic solutions are integrated into hole systems models that are compatible with Nature’s solutions: how to resolve the complex problems. Successful future industries – according to the Blue Economy principles – should reexamine the basics of science and find innovative solutions that apply the law of physics first.

The Blue Economy permits to respond to the basic needs of all with what we have. As such, it stands for a new way of designing business: using the resources available in cascading systems, where the waste of one product becomes the input to create a new cash flow. In this way, jobs are created, social capital is built and income rises – while the environment that provides the basis for our lives is no longer strained and polluted. Thus, we can evolve from an economy where the good is expensive, and the bad is cheap, to a system where the good and innovative is affordable.

To achieve this vision, thousands of innovations were screened and hundreds identified which imitate natural ecosystems and their efficiency. 100 of those innovations were presented as a Report to the Club of Rome in 2009. About one third of those 100 innovations has already been implemented in companies around the globe, one third is in prototyping status and one third has been scientifically proven but requires further research to create market-ready products. This new economic structure is able to provide 100 million jobs within a decade, if we truly understand and apply the principles of the Blue Economy

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OECD, 2009

Over the past two decades, biotechnology has provided a motor for environmentally sustainable production and for the development of a diverse  range of innovative products. The continued commercial application of biotechnology could lead to the development of a bioeconomy, where a substantial share of economic output is partly dependent on the development and use of biological materials. The potential economic and environmental benefits of biotechnology have created a growing strategic interest in the bioeconomy in both OECD and non-OECD countries. But for the bioeconomy to succeed, considerable uncertainties and global challenges will need to be addressed. Innovative policy frameworks, strategic thinking by both governments and firms, and citizen support will be required to meet these challenges. 

Getting the most out of the bioeconomy will require identifying and preparing for a range of possible futures to prevent locking-in inferior technological solutions. To achieve this, broad approaches, such as creating and maintaining markets for environmentally sustainable products, funding basic and applied research, and investing in multi-purpose infrastructure and education, will need to be combined with shorter term policies, over the next five years, to establish a foundation for future applications. These foundational policies include: 

1. In agriculture, encourage the application of biotechnology to improve plant and animal varieties through improving access to technologies for use in a wider range of plants, expanding the number of firms and research institutes that can use biotechnology (particularly in developing countries), and fostering public dialogue. 

2. In health, develop regulatory, research, and health record systems which can link prescribing histories, genetic and other information, to support long-term follow-up research into health outcomes. 

3. In industry, increase support for the adoption and use of internationally accepted standards for life cycle analysis, along with other incentives to reward environmentally sustainable technologies (e.g. boosting research into high energy density biofuels).

Capther 7 describes a “probable” bioeconomy in 2030 and develops two fictional scenarios that explore the interaction of different factors on possible futures. The “probable” bioeconomy builds on the types of products that are likely to reach the market by 2015. Within the OECD region, biotechnology could contribute to 2.7% of GDP in 2030, with the largest economic contribution of biotechnology in industry and in primary production. The economic contribution of biotechnology could be even greater in developing countries, due to the importance of these two sectors to their economies.

The scenarios assume an increasingly multi-polar world, with no single country or region dominating world affairs. They include plausible events that could influence the emerging bioeconomy. The results highlight the importance of good governance, including international cooperation, and technological competitiveness in influencing the future. Complex scientific challenges and poorly designed regulations could reduce the ability of industrial biotechnologies to compete with other alternatives. For instance, rapid reductions in the cost of renewable electricity combined with technical breakthroughs in battery technology could result in electrical vehicles outcompeting biofuel transport systems. Public attitudes could result in some biotechnologies not reaching their potential. An example is predictive and preventive medicine, where the advance of this technology could be limited by public resistance to poorly planned and intrusive healthcare systems.

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Directorate-General for Research,
European Commission, 2004.

To develop their potential, and find their new role in the emerging EU25+ knowledge-based economy, regions need to widen their focus and go beyond their own innovation landscape to explore the European and trans-regional dimension to the full. Foresight is a key element in the creation of future oriented and outward looking visions and strategies. Many regions considering implementing foresight exercises need help to overcome initial barriers, such as doubts about the usefulness and usability of foresight, problems linking foresight to existing regional mechanisms, as well as simply lack of knowledge on how to set up and undertake foresight activities. Easy to understand practical blueprints on how to set up a foresight activities to suit specific regional circumstances could be instrumental in supporting regions to implement regional foresight.

OECD, 2000

Scientific advances and technological change are important drivers of recent economic performance. The ability to create, distribute and exploit knowledge has become a major source of competitive advantage, wealth creation and improvements in the quality of life. Some of the main features of this transformation are the growing impact of information and communications technologies (ICT) on the economy and on society; the rapid application of recent scientific advances in new products and processes; a high rate of innovation across OECD countries; a shift to more knowledge-intensive industries and services; and rising skill requirements. These changes imply that science, technology and innovation are now key to improving economic performance and social well-being.

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Jonathan Huebner
Technological Forecasting and Social Change

A comparison is made between a model of technology in which the level of technology advances exponentially without limit and a model with an economic limit. The model with an economic limit best fits data obtained from lists of events in the history of science and technology as well as the patent history in the United States. The rate of innovation peaked in the year 1873 and is now rapidly declining. We are at an estimated 85% of the economic limit of technology, and it is projected that we will reach 90% in 2018 and 95% in 2038.

Jan Fagerberg
University of Oslo
Paper prepared for “Green roads to growth” project and conference,
Copenhagen, 1-2 March 2006

This paper discusses the role of knowledge, technology and innovation in economic growth within the context of the “Green roads to growth” project. It summarizes the current state of the art in this area, illustrates this with selected graphs and tables based on published statistics  and raises issues for discussion. The main focus is on the big shift of our understanding of economic growth that has taken place in recent decades, exemplified by emergence of terms such as “the knowledge based economy”, “the ICT revolution” and “innovation”, which - although not an entirely new issue – did not get much attention a few decades ago. Particular emphasis is placed on reviewing the new micro-evidence on innovation and the knowledgebased economy that has emerged in recent years. However, since extensive micro-evidence on innovation and knowledge-based growth is available only for a limited number of developed economies, we also consider other types of indicators (that are available for a larger set of countries), and present a synthetic overview of the differences in performance across different parts of the globe. Finally we summarize the main trends and discuss the challenges posed by these for future growth, sustainability and policy.

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Cesare Marchetti, 1981

A sociey is a learning system,that learning is basically a random search with filters, and that random searches are characterized by logistic functions. The most natural way to proceed is through examples of increasing complexity from which some abstractions and deductions can be drawn.

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David Encaoua
Paris School of Economics,
Centre Economie Sorbonne (CES) Université Paris I
Lecture Monte Verita Conference, June 2007

The positive US productivity shock induced by the breakthrough of Information and Communication Technologies has not been matched by the EU. Productivity lag widens in ICT producing goods and Intensive ICT user sectors. Diffusion of ICT in the US had a set of technological opportunities that were not appropriated, to the same extent, in Europe. In contrast, slight European productivity advantage in traditional sectors (non-ICT) which still forms the core of the European economy. This advantage has been obtained by substantial reduction of employment in traditional sectors.

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