A new and coherent framework for fostering the breakthrough innovations that we urgently need to confront our collective future.
We live in less innovative times than we think. Despite having made major technological advancements in a few areas, we are still left with enormous unsolved challenges. A radical shift in the culture of innovation is needed. On the Brink of Utopia, by authors Thomas Ramge and Rafael Laguna de la Vera, and with a foreword by Nobel Laureate Stefan Hell, offers just that—a new and coherent framework for fostering breakthrough innovations for human progress. In their “Innovation Leap Paradigm,” they present seven steps in seven chapters and answer three simple questions: What great challenges need to be tackled? Who makes tech leaps? And finally, what political, economic, and cultural environments foster radical innovation?
The authors sketch out a future in which technology will solve real problems, anywhere from climate change and hunger to obesity and menstrual pain. They envision a future in which biotechnologists work from a platform that enables them to develop effective drugs within months for any emerging virus, where green energy will be too cheap to meter and aerial carbon can be transmuted into a valuable commodity at scale. Offering a new perspective on innovation that centers not just American readers but also readers from all over the world, On the Brink of Utopia is a hopeful and visionary book that reimagines the roles of innovators, citizens, governments, and financial markets to foster innovation leaps that maximize the well-being of the greatest number of people.
Thomas Ramge has published many books on technology, which have been translated into more than 20 languages. His essays and long-reads have appeared in MIT Sloan Management Review, the Economist, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Affairs, among others. He is an associated member of the Einstein Center for Digital Future and Alumni Senior Research Fellow at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society.
Rafael Laguna de la Vera is the founding director of the Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation (SPRIND). At 16, he founded his first start-up, Elephant Software. Laguna is a visiting professor at several universities and is a cofounding partner of CODE University of Applied Sciences.
“This book is full of great ideas for exactly how we can accelerate the pace of innovation and create beams of optimism that can cut through the clouds of doom.”
Peter Gabriel, musician
“If you care at all about the future, this book is a must-read. The authors lay out a rigorous case for innovation and give a positive spin on developments yet to come. This captivating book is accessible to anyone who wants to travel into the future—right now.”
Sebastian Thrun, Founder, Google X and Waymo
“Risk appetite instead of resignation: the authors believe that we can get a grip on humankind's problems, if we dream big and act now. A very encouraging and smart read.”
Benjamin List, Nobel Laureate; Director, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung
“A succinct and clear-eyed recipe for unlocking the world's innovative potential at a time when we so desperately need it.”
Ashlee Vance, best-selling author of When the Heavens Went on Sale and Elon Musk
“Reading this insightful book led me to several observations: (a) Patience and persistence count; (b) be open to feedback and criticism; and (c) get help, preferably from people smarter than you are!”
Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer
“A stimulating read.”
The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding and support from the MIT Libraries Experimental Collections Fund, and MIT Press Direct to Open