Five World-Changing Projects to Watch in 202221 Dec 2021
Image by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
Great minds think… differently? From the perspective of project professionals continuing to lead transformational progress despite the ongoing pandemic, yes. The ability of these changemakers to think differently is what sets them apart.
I’m so inspired by the incredible work underway—across the globe—leading into 2022. As highlighted on PMI’s 2021 Most Influential Projects list, here are five monumental projects on the horizon looking to be game-changers:
Is the thought of an unhackable internet too good be true? Probably tough to imagine, but it just might be possible thanks to a team at Dutch research center QuTech. A truly scalable quantum network must relay quantum information through direct intermediate nodes. In April, the QuTech team discovered that using a complex system of mirrors and laser light resulted in a rudimentary quantum network by creating three independent nodes across 10 to 20 meters. Up next: connecting Delft and The Hague, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) apart. If such technology is applied on a large-scale quantum internet, there could be cloud computing with complete privacy and warp-speed computations, for starters.
Did you realize the Maldives is the flattest country in the world? According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels could rise a half meter (1.6 feet) by 2100, which would submerge 77 percent of the South Asian archipelago’s land area. The idea of a floating city might sound like a dream come true, but Dutch architecture studio Waterstudio and construction company Dutch Docklands are turning the idea into a reality. Set to be constructed in a lagoon outside of the Maldives’ capital of Malé, the new island city will be powered by renewable energy and provide space for thousands of homes, a hospital, a school, and commercial properties. I can’t wait to see construction take off in 2022, with the goal of finishing the resilient community over the next half decade. What’s more, this revolutionary infrastructure can serve as a blueprint for ALL waterfront coastal cities looking to future-proof themselves from the rising waters of climate change.
The days of streaming your favorite band or artist’s new album may be headed in the rearview mirror—nonfungible tokens (NFTs) are increasingly popular in mainstream music. NFTs are similar to cryptocurrency as digital assets, but quantities are much more limited. Kings of Leon became the first major musical act to offer an album, When You See Yourself, in such a format at US$50 token. Though we can’t determine where NFTs are headed, they are certainly a trend worth watching: in the first half of 2020, sales were US$13.7 million per DappRadar. During that same timespan one year later, NFT sales jumped to US$2.5 billion. NFTs are enticing to musical artists and fans alike. For musical artists, NFTs are a new form of revenue in a world of tour cancellations, streaming services, and recording companies who eat up a big chunk of profits. For fans, NFTs offer status in the digital universe with liquidity on a global basis. Where will NFTs be headed in the coming year? We’ll have to tune in to find out.
Ever thought the New York City subway or London tube was packed? Maybe so, but Mumbai’s railway system typically serves over 7 million jam-packed commuters each day, leading to risks that sometimes injure and kill riders. To help offer safe mass transit for one of the world’s most populous cities, Mumbai Metro Rail Corp. (MMRC) is going the distance—33.5 kilometers (20.8 miles) across 27 stations. Expected to be fully operational by mid-2022, an estimated 1.6 million people are anticipated to ride the subway daily. Upgrades include larger air-conditioned train cars, platform screens to prevent falls, and escalators and elevators across stations. I also admire the project’s efforts to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and not just by encouraging commuters to take public transit. The project is planting 9,000 trees and 8,888 mangroves in place of 108 mangroves cut down when constructing the new metro line.
Whether you’re buying milk, eggs, or salad at the store, do you usually select the product with the latest “use by” or “best before” date? As consumers, we often try to make sure we’re not wasting food in our own homes. But did you know there’s considerable excess at grocery stores, where Israeli-Dutch startup Wasteless estimates roughly 87 percent of food waste is due to products sitting past their expiration date? That’s why Wasteless is coming to the table with a better option for our menus: an AI-powered dynamic pricing engine that automatically reduces the cost of perishable food items as they spend more time on store shelves. The closer a product is to its "best before" date, the cheaper it will be to buy. I love this concept. If equipped with the technology, why not help grocery stores waste less while giving shoppers a good deal?
This is an incredible lineup of influential projects in the works. I don’t know what all 2022 will have in store, but I do know that with phenomenal changemakers trailblazing at the helm, we’ll see tremendous global progress in the year ahead.