The ambitious goal of a clean economy and a high-quality society can be achieved. It is "the existing powers of creativity and innovation within society that offer opportunities for green growth,” says Maarten Hajer in The Energetic Society, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency Trends Report. Yet in order to exploit the potential of this energetic society, Hajer says, governments need to adjust and act in a timely way, otherwise they will be exposed to the powers of the energetic society that may effectively obstruct government initiatives. We need a new partnership and a new division of responsibilities.
Innovation means planning for action and initiative, accepting the fact that mistakes will be made, and making certain that improvements are identified and implemented rapidly. Such innovation calls for a different type of government based on the notion of “radical incrementalism.” Putting the sustainable achievements of institutions and businesses in digital, shareable form is important for providing valuable examples and feedback.
The challenge is to do more with less – something for which there is no instant solution. New ideas will constantly be required and may be stimulated by a government that commits itself to clear objectives and engages in new forms of social engagement.