The Morteratsch glacier in Switzerland is melting

Like most alpine glaciers, the Morteratsch glacier in the Eastern part of Switzerland is melting.


The transformation of energy

During this well moderated and informative 1-hour event on the transformation of energy, I learned, for example, this:

  • From minute 3: The downward trend in the price of oil will continue. Investments in oil are declining.
  • From minute 10: The price of solar energy has reduced dramatically. Technology innovations have helped solar panels to generate energy much more efficiently. Price reductions in solar energy will increase. In China, investments in renewable energies – including solar energy – will increase considerably.
  • From minute 20: Renewable energies are developing into a main fuel. In particular, wind energy and solar energy are in focus. The driving forces are emerging economies with China, India, and Brazil as strong growth engines.
  • From minute 31: The price of batteries is decreasing – leading to increasing usage. In particular, the use of batteries in transportation will increase and drive further innovation. Electric vehicles are key in driving growth in the use of batteries.
  • Minute 59: The increase in demand for energy will increase considerably.

As you watch / listen to the event, please note the moderator’s strong moderation skills / facilitation skills, for example in

  • asking short, concrete questions – including follow up questions – to each of the panelists.
  • involving other participants in the room by inviting them to ask short, concrete questions. In this regard, notice how the moderator follows up on the question of a participant at minute 48 and asks the person to better explain what he means and be more explicit – thereby helping the person asking the question to add more detailed information.

Additional research on innovation in renewable energy.

Idea by Christopher Pissarides about child care services

Listening to this very interesting World Economic Forum briefing by Christopher Pissarides, I learned this:

  • At 8:45, Christopher Pissarides mentioned that in Sweden, child care is subsidized – encouraging people, who have children, to buy child care services in the market. This initiative helps child care services develop, raises incomes for people, and reduces inequality. He also mentioned that, currently, this does not work in, for example, Italy, where the government – at the moment – does not take much interest in services like child care. This is one reason why we are seeing high gender inequality – including low rates of work participation by women – in Italy.
  • At 19:35, Christopher Pissarides said that in Sweden, at least twice as many jobs are being created in child care services and other health care services as in Italy.


Reflections by Hikmet Ersek

At 11:55 and at 42:55 in this World Economic Forum session entitled Escaping from poverty, Hikmet Ersek reflects on his experiences working in the USA and in Vienna, Austria. He explained, for example, that

  • in the USA, people were asking him: What do you do / what can you do? He also said that in the USA, it was not important for people what his name was.
  • in Vienna, Austria, people were asking him: Where are you from? He also explained that in Vienna, his name changed everything.


An insight, an idea with Jack Ma

Listening to this very interesting conversation between Jack Ma and Charlie Rose I learned this:

  • At 6:25, Jack Ma mentioned that the average age of a person working for Alibaba is 27-28 years old. And at 39:15, he said that 47% of people working for Alibaba are women. In this regard, Jack Ma said he has found that women think about others more than they think about themselves.
  • At 7:25 Jack Ma explained that he failed several exams. He also said that he got rejections to many jobs he applied for. Being asked by Charlie Rose what effect it had on him getting rejected, Jack Ma said “I think we have to get used to it. We’re not that good.”
  • At 11:45 Jack Ma mentioned that in 1995, when he was in Seattle, USA, he did a search on the Internet for the first time in his life. He mentioned that he could not find any information about China when he was searching. That inspired him.
  • At 25:40 Jack Ma mentioned that he was enthusiastic / excited about what he was doing and happy that he could help people with what he made available on the Internet. He also talked about a surprising experience he had: Once he was in a restaurant, he experienced that a person who wanted to express his appreciation for the work Jack Ma was doing, had paid for his meal.
  • At 33:15 Jack Ma mentioned that he loves Forrest Gump because he is simple, believes in what he is doing and does not give up. He also said that he likes the phrase “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you get.”
  • At 34:35 Jack Ma explained that he worries about that a lot of young people lose hope, lose vision, and complain. Jack Ma explained that he was also depressed and said that it’s not a good feeling being rejected. He explained that later, he found out that there are many opportunities in the world, and that it matters how you see the world.
  • At 38:00 Jack Ma explained that many years ago, he wanted to change the world. He went on to explain that today, he thinks that “if we want to change the world, we need to change ourselves. Changing ourselves is more important – and it is easier than changing the world.” He added that he wants to improve the world.


In tech we trust

During an interesting World Economic Forum session entitled “In tech we trust” I learned this:

  • At 3:40, Marc R. Benioff mentioned that only through radical transparency are we going to get radical new levels of trust. He added that we need more openness regarding where data is, what is going on with the data, who has the data, and – if there’s a problem with the data – provide immediate disclosure, total transparency.
  • At 5:15, Marissa Mayer made the point that personalized technology is better technology, and a personalized Internet is a better Internet. To have a personalized Internet, you need to store data in the cloud. She continued saying that trust is about each person making a trade of between how much privacy and security he / she wants vs. how many benefits he / she wants? She emphasized the importance of transparency, that users own their own data and have control over it, so they can examine it, take it with them, bring it to other sites / to other vendors that they trust more.
  • At 15:25 Tim Berners-Lee agreed that a personalized service is a better service meaning, for example, that you can buy your clothes more quickly.
  • At 17:50 Günther H. Oettinger mentioned that we are in a digital revolution, and that we need a smart and pragmatic data revolution. He added that with all technology, there’s a potential on the one hand and risks on the other hand. And we have to balance it out. He agreed that transparency is important and noted that we need a UN agency for data protection and security. At 45:00 Günther H. Oettinger said that many people are not informed. We need more information, more education. Citizens need to become more competent.


Experiences getting external help – using technology

Being interested in renewable energy technologies and technologies that help improve energy efficiency, I have come across, for example, solar energy technology and LED lighting technology. When investing in solar energy and LED lighting, the actual purchase of products is one part. Getting the technologies installed is another and important part. Not being particularly competent about installing solar panels and LED lamps, we decided to get external help / help from outside. In this regard, 2 websites, jacando and Rent a Rentner were of great use. Via jacando we got in touch with a person who helped us competently install the solar panel enabling us to generate energy, and via Rent a Rentner we got in touch with a person who helped us install an LED lamp. Both projects worked out well.

Just an additional note regarding installing solar energy: In an earlier posting, I referred to the use of solar energy at Niederhorn in the Swiss mountains, 2,000 meters above sea level.  Reading this article I learned that sharply declining costs are the key to the potential of solar energy. While module costs should continue to fall, even bigger opportunities lurk in the costs associated with installation and service. These cost reductions will put solar within striking distance, in economic terms, of new construction for traditional power-generation technologies. In the interesting article, I also read that over the last several years, the demand for power in Europe has fallen, while the supply of renewables – including solar – has risen, driven down power prices, and depressed the penetration of conventional power sources. Reading this article I learned about a report showing that in some European countries, for example Germany, Italy and Spain, solar power has become as cheap as buying off the grid.

For more information about renewable energy, have a look at this google group. To know more technologies that make it easy for you to get external help / get help from outside, have a look at the book Udefra by Jacob Bøtter. Also, check out these links on crowdsourcing.

Top 5 on Scribd so far this year

Top 5 on Scribd so far this year:
# 1: Customer needs.
# 2: Switzerland.
# 3: Questions to discover your values.
# 4: Six thinking hats.
# 5: Problem analysis methods.


Clean energy at Niederhorn in Switzerland

At Niederhorn, about 2,000 meters above sea level in the impressive swiss mountains, I was positively surprised to see a relatively large number of solar panels installed on the roof of a building. What also surprised me was that I did not see any wind mills up there. Although I’m far from being a wind energy expert, there seems to be a potential for generating quite a lot of energy from the wind blowing on / in the mountains. For more information about renewable energy development, please feel welcome to visit this group.