The place at the top is highly competitive and requires the ability to think and act disruptively, says Bertrand Piccard in his keynote speech. If there’s one thing the psychiatrist, explorer, and adventurer can’t stand, it’s these four words: “It is not possible.” Still, he heard this sentence over and over when he was looking for solutions to the great challenges facing the world. According to Piccard, he was usually given the same explanation as to why it is not possible: “Because it has never been done before.”
The 64-year-old Swiss, however, never concurred. If he had, he would not have been able to become the first person to circle the earth nonstop in a balloon. Or to travel around the world in a purely solar-powered airplane. “The aim of Solar Impulse was not to transport passengers,” Piccard says. Rather, the goal was to prove that renewable energies and clean technologies can achieve impossible goals.
Bertrand Piccard set the goal of identifying more than 1,000 solutions that can protect the environment in an economically profitable way. “The path needs to break up existing rules,” as Piccard puts it. “We have to invent the future we want.”
For Piccard and his colleagues, the energy crisis and the modernization of poor infrastructure are “the greatest market opportunities of the century.” Society, however, is still dealing with global resources as if they were infinitely available. Instead, we should use them “cleverly, smartly, efficiently, and profitably,” says Piccard.
The minimum target of 1,000 profitable technology solutions to reduce CO2 emissions, energy and water consumption, and to promote energy efficiency and the circular economy has already been reached and widely exceeded. The call for disruptive thinking and action worked.