Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is economics the driver for innovation?

“Industry’s goal is not to deploy the most innovative or the greenest technology. The goal is to make money” says MIT alumnus and DoE under secretary for science, Steven E. Koonin.

As someone with a long academic background he postulated the issue in the form of a simple syllogism:
  • Almost the entire energy industry, with only a few exceptions, is in the hands of private industry;
  • Industry’s primary goal is a legal and predictable profit;
  • Therefore, innovation in the energy supply will only reach a significant scale when it is profitable or mandated.
Read the rest of the MIT news article here and let us know what you think.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is such a great article. For those of us interested in innovation and the debate around what drives it, this forms a great basis.

    Let me put my thoughts out there: I agree with Steven Koonin, few will change their practise i.e. be less dependent on the grid, an energy and money saving innovative device or renewable technology just because it is for the greater good and the right thing to do. No, we are not going to be that lucky, we need governments and local authorities to pass legislation and by-laws to effect any meaningful change.

    When we are down to only a few kilograms of coal and are allocated 20kWh per household per day, the scramble for renewable energy will remind South Africans of 1994 election queues and remind Americans of the chaos only seen in movies, perhaps even like the black Friday rush of 2007.

    Then, on that day, market forces on the global economy and the all too familiar "commercial imperative" will have INNOVATIONS spring up like mushrooms. Until then, lets showcase the innovations and innovators who can let their innovative juices flow right here and right now.

    My message to today's innovators: High FIVE and...stop flying below the radar, let us know what you have so we can support you and learn from you.