Editor’s Note: On October 9, Barbara Humpton spoke at the Impact.Engineered forum at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, addressing the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) Engineering for Change organization. In her remarks, below, she announced a new partnership between Siemens and Engineering for Change that will focus on technological solutions to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
In 2007, a couple weeks after Apple released the iPhone, Siemens set off our own digital transformation. We made our first U.S. software acquisition – a company called UGS. This acquisition essentially launched our journey with Siemens Digital Industries Software. It’s how we brought in the virtual engineering tools now used by more than 140,000 companies around the world.
We know that engineers building our physical world – from automotive to aerospace and heavy machinery – from large companies to start-ups – are using these tools every day. And we also know that these capabilities have not only helped Siemens reinvent itself into the world’s largest industrial software company; they’ve actually changed our perspective about what’s possible in the future. They’ve redefined our notion of what’s humanly possible.
You see, these tools are what enabled NASA to test and design a rover in a virtual environment that could survive the make-or-break “seven minutes of terror” to get to Mars. These tools are what one tech company used to design autonomous drones to deliver essential medicines to remote areas of Rwanda, or what recently enabled an ambitious teenager to design a new prosthetic leg for a veteran in her community.
And that’s why we want to provide these tools to you. Because we know that you share our mission to use technology to change the world in a positive way.
So, let’s combine our efforts. Let’s inspire today’s and our future engineers to focus on solving the world’s greatest challenges.
As part of a new partnership with Engineering for Change, Siemens will provide your community with access to free software tools, as well as online training and professional certification. In fact, you’ll soon hear more about real-world design challenges that Siemens and Engineering for Change communities will collaborate on to address some of the biggest challenges facing humankind.
These are challenges identified by the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. And they revolve around two of our most basic human needs: What we want to do together is reimagine the future of food and water.
Let’s start with water. We know that, by 2030, nearly 35 percent of the world will be living in water-stressed countries. Traditional sources of water are becoming increasingly unreliable. Well, what if we can create a low-cost, energy-efficient solution to remove salt contamination from water? If we can do that, more than 97 percent of the water on Earth – which we can’t use today – is potentially adding to clean water supplies available for drinking and farming worldwide.
We’re also going to imagine a world with zero hunger. And not by increasing how much food can be produced, but by focusing on how technology can reduce food loss in communities where electricity is scarce or nonexistent. Around the world, roughly one-third of all food produced is ultimately lost or wasted. In developing countries, 40 percent of losses occur in the harvest and processing phases. What if we can create off-grid preservation technologies and, in the process, dramatically increase global food supplies?
These are the challenges we will focus on together. These are the opportunities we have to improve lives and build stronger communities.
At Siemens, we designed our business strategy to address the inexorable forces impacting society. These are global megatrends, from urbanization, to climate change, to an aging population that will shape our future. We even created a framework – we call it Business to Society – that measures our results in terms of societal impact. And like you, we focused on the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 as our metric for success. When we look at the projects we’re involved in around the world, we see that Siemens is contributing to all 17 of those UN goals – from clean energy and climate action to good health and quality education.
Now we can focus even more intensely on advancing these goals together. So let’s think of this as a moment where we embark together on a new era of discovery. Let’s use the technology we have to better understand the world around us. And let’s create new space for ideas to take flight.
I look forward to connecting with many of you at the networking event later. And keep an eye out for updates – because there’s a lot more to come. Thanks very much.