at University of Liechtenstein, 18. August 2017 - RF


Over the course of our Transformers’ Day 2017, we hosted a panel in cooperation with the University of Liechtenstein to pool our overseas guests from the United Nations and MIT with local, interested individuals and decision-makers. In this we complied with our mission of bringing together people and ideas and enlightened the audience about the significance of sustainability in many dimensions of our planet and society, especially in the dimension of “smart” cities or countries.

Christopher set off the session with a short speech, followed by Dianne Dain, who explained that the United Nations is helping countries to reach the Sustainable Development Goals by setting up Technology Innovation Laboratories around the world, each of these will bring inventions, concepts and innovations into being within three chosen Sustainable Development Goals suiting that country. Finland, for example, world leading in its field, is working on solutions for the goal of “Quality Education”. When talking about THE’s vision of transforming Liechtenstein into the first country to reach all the Sustainable Development Goals, everyone felt Dianne’s sincere motivation and interest in our country. “You all could be part of showing the rest of the world that it is possible. Letting hope and aspiration arise for other countries.”

Paul Lee then presented the MIT City Science’s initiative, “CityScape”. He pointed out that urban development decisions are made using antiquated design and decision-making processes that do not model complex human dynamics and social impact. The MIT City Science Initiative focused on three areas: Mobility on demand, New places of work/live and “CityScope”. The latter is a platform for Augmented Decision Support for decision-makers and community engagement, Visualisation and Real-Time Simulation that ties real-world dynamics to intervention models and Data Insight Observatory for transforming diverse information sources into high impact insights. For example, he showed us how researchers with a physical model kit were switching different buildings, social housing, or infrastructure on a table and seeing in real-time what impacts each step had on resource usage (like water consumption) and other factors on a screen. 

Paul, who is himself a leading data specialist from the US, explained: “We use self-adaptive optimization platforms to use today’s learnings to adapt models continuously – from insight to action”. He said that in Liechtenstein we could establish a global sustainability leadership, learn locally, and share it globally.

Bringing in the local context, Peter Droege from the Liechtenstein Institute for Strategic Development and professor at the University of Liechtenstein presented some interesting findings he and his team have made when exploring the energy ecosystem of the whole Bodensee region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). He made clear that in our beautiful area, there is enormous potential in funding, and innovation to transform it into a sustainable ecosystem.

Rethink Identity

Dawda Jobarteh, Managing Director of the MIT program “SOLVE”, finished up the panel with a presentation about “Crowd Solving” global challenges. Every year, a set of challenges are released around the four pillars learning, health, sustainability and economic prosperity. Solutions are sought from human beings and collectives around the world. “In terms of transformation, we are changing the way people understand and approach significant global challenges – transforming the perception of seemingly insurmountable problems to solvable challenges that are also opportunities, and transforming how solutions are identified and advanced by using open innovation and partnerships involving people from a wide variety of backgrounds, sectors, and regions”. For the last 30 minutes, Dawda opened up the discussion and made the connection to Liechtenstein, asking the audience what it thought would still be necessary to make Liechtenstein a “smart country”. Conclusion: We need to stop fearing failure, we need to be radically open, and we need to act – NOW.

The Panel was followed by inspiring and pulsating discussions during the reception. That was continued in THE – where we invited everyone to let the day sink away in our living room.