At a recent talk at TEDx Lausanne, I began my remarks with two simple questions: who feels we are living in a time of remarkable innovation in science and technology? And, who believes that the way we consume, grow and develop has hit a wall? Both times, most hands came up.

This odd contradiction is the defining feature of our days: we believe in innovation, but have given up on progress. Our real challenge is not the proverbial fight between man and machine beloved of a feverish press; it is the struggle against the belief that we are passive subjects, buffeted by technology in a world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. If we are to wield technology to build a better future, we must learn how to liberate our imagination from the limits of the present.