As our population grows and we use more natural resources than ever, the issue of renewable energy sources becomes ever more pressing. Innovation isn’t only important in the business world, it’s also crucial for ensuring the future of our planet.
Alongside the annual Innovation Leaders analysis of large organizations’ performance, we also identify upcoming companies that are seen as potential future catalysts for change. While these are organizations that are yet to achieve global scale, they are already making significant impact. They are the companies that are inventing new technologies, applying new business models and creating value in new ways that may well have significant global influence in the years ahead. Some are new ventures; others have been around for a few years and are building momentum.
For many years, companies were convinced of the competitive advantage of closed research and development. They jealously protected their intellectual property behind closed doors and dramatically revealed it to the public after years of development. This old model has since been replaced by open innovation.
Attention innovators: here’s your chance to showcase tech & science projects and benefit from international promotion among a tech-oriented crowd, media, industry representatives and business professionals for free. The digital campaign, “Bringing tech&science closer to people,” carried out under the auspices of UNESCO, is here to celebrate innovators and inventors and the world-changing solutions they are working on.
The IoT (or “Internet Of Things”) is becoming a more popular topic of conversation these days. Many have already realized this with regard to individual use (say, through fitness trackers) or “smart homes.” But the IoT can also have a huge effect on the workplace – here’s how.
November 3, 2016: There’s no longer any doubt that the democratization of designing, planning and decision making for just about anything is here to stay. In fact, these days it seems that no problem is too big or complex for the crowd. In this edition of What’s New we can see crowdsourcing being used to substitute a traditional justice system, write a country’s new constitution, plan the next generation of smart-cities, search for cleaner water, investigate the Moon and Jupiter, and the list goes on.
Judging by experience, most top managers and innovators feel that they are in a maelstrom of change. For some, the rate of change and the magnitude of the consequences induced are so high that they feel a kind of ‘Present Shock’ – a term coined by Douglas Rushkoff, building upon Alvin Toffler’s concept of Future Shock, to describe the psychological impact that occurs when too much is happening simultaneously.
What is the real value of participating in innovation programs? In this article Rob Hoehn looks at his favourite example, working with the Department of Energy. They started by asking the public what the most pressing problems were when it came to making solar a cost-competitive resource for every citizen and then asked that same crowd to come forward with possible solutions to the top-voted problems.
The Nordic countries have a high number of start-up companies but are struggling with scaling their entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovations to global large-scale operations and companies. Yet, one Nordic company namely Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems managed to become world-beater within the global wind turbine industry. But but after 2008 Vestas has experienced a near death experience and is struggling for survival. Vestas’ story holds important lessons for other Nordic companies, not only within the renewable energy industry. It will here be argued that had Vestas paid more attention to what the management guru Peter Drucker labeled the five deadly business sins Vestas might have avoided getting into dire straits.
Synthetic biology moves us from reading to writing DNA, allowing us to design biological systems from scratch for any number of applications. Its capabilities are becoming clearer, its first products and processes emerging. Synthetic biology’s reach already extends from reducing our dependence on oil to transforming how we develop medicines and food crops. It is being heralded as the next big thing; whether it fulfils that expectation remains to be seen. It will require collaboration and multi-disciplinary approaches to development, application and regulation. Interesting times ahead!
Clean water and clean power, especially in remote areas of Africa and other developing nations, are critical challenges. One piece of technology, Microbial Fuel Cells, (MFCs) could help address both problems, and bring the additional benefits of mobile communications – changing the lives of millions. In one incarnation, it might also reduce the scourge of malaria.