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Ron DePinho, who as president of MD Anderson Cancer Center launched its Moon Shots program , sees grand challenges “as grand opportunities to deliver a population-level impact that requires the discovery and application of new knowledge, and therefore a cross-sector, multidisciplinary effort.”

Lots of Upside, Limited Downside

Whatever form a grand challenge takes, it is an effort to pull an organization out of a purely operational mode and create something truly new. That is the both the promise and the peril of any truly ambitious effort, because critics often object to diverting resources from more-pressing needs. Skeptics worry that scientists will spend a lot of time developing solutions that have no definable time horizon or specific application in mind.

However, DePinho pointsout that, over the long haul, grand challenges tend to make good economic sense. “We actually learned that there tends to be so much spinout from a major collective effort that the end result tends to be an increase of effective resources,” he says, because it propels many other efforts forward.

He points to The Cancer Genome Atlas , which sequenced over 10,000 tumor genomes across 33 types of cancer, as an example. As a first-of-its-kind effort, it created a new “periodic table” for cancer research and shifted the field in new directions. It also helped give rise to a similar effort, the Materials Genome Initiative , which hopes to make a comparable impact in manufacturing .

For established organizations, grand challenges can also represent managed risk. IBM’s Meyerson points out that projects like Deep Blue, Blue Gene, and Watson differ significantly from his company’s development of the 360 mainframe back in the 1960s, which cost $5 billion (about $40 billion in today’s dollars) and could have meant the end of IBM if it failed.

“Grand challenges are not about the amount of money you throw at the problem,” he says. “To run a successful grand challenge program, failure should not be a material risk to the company, but success will have a monumental impact. That’s what makes grand challenges an asymmetric opportunity.”

Meyerson also points out that today’s technology makes the pursuit of ambitious projects far more accessible to smaller organizations: “In the current environment of cloud computing, software as a service, and open data, the opportunities for organizations of any size to pursue grand challenges with minimal capital expenditures is unprecedented.”

No matter what form innovation takes— short, agile sprints or long-term, grand-challenge investments —innovation is fundamentally about solving problems . And the bigger the problems you choose to tackle, the larger the potential payoff. Pursuing a grand challenge won’t improve your results next quarter, but it might just take your enterprise to a whole new level.

Civil unrest

Papua and West Papua Provinces (high risk)We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to Papua and West Papua provinces. The security situation remains unpredictable and there is a risk of kidnapping. Political tensions associated with anti-government groups and local rivalries can lead to violent clashes. Sporadic violence has occurred in Papua province, mainly in Jayapura, parts of the central highlands, around the Grasberg mine and on the road between Timika and Grasberg. Clashes between security service personnel and civilians, and between groups of civilians, have resulted in deaths and injuries. If you are travelling to Papua or West Papua provinces, a travel permit known locally as a “surat jalan” is required. Should you need medical attention, limited facilities are available.

Papua and West Papua Provinces

Seismic Activity Indonesia is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes, with the potential threat of tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Slips, flooding and landslides can occur with little warning, commonly in mountainous and remote areas, but also in urban areas. There are a number of active volcanoes in Indonesia and many have high alert levels which, at times, can necessitate evacuations. These volcanoes erupt from time to time and in the past have caused destruction and loss of life. Ash clouds have also caused disruptions to flights.

Seismic Activity

Mount Agung, an active volcanoon the island of Bali has shown increased volcanic activity since September 2017. The volcano continues tobe activeand the alert levelof Indonesia's Natural Disaster Management Authority can change with little warning.

New Zealanders are advised to exercise caution, check news reports and follow local advice before travelling to areas within Indonesia that are prone to volcanic activity.Daily updates (in Indonesian) can be found on the Indonesian Directorate of Volcanology and Geological Mitigations website and Gold Plated Single Shard Hoop Earring and Stud Gold Orelia 20678kgU
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Crime Petty crime is common in Indonesia, including in Bali.Incidents of bag-snatching and pick-pocketing occur and canturn violent.Ensure your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure when walking in public areas and travelling on public transport. Exercise caution, particularly at night.

Credit card fraud, including skimming, is common in Indonesia. We recommend New Zealanders take extra care when using credit cards and ATMs and carefully check credit card statements for fraudulent charges.

There have been incidences of both tourists and Indonesians becoming seriously ill from food and drink spiking. Do not leave food or drink unattended or accept any food or drink from strangers or recent acquaintances.


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