Better batteries or better Electric Vehicles

Tesla recently announced its plans to be as big as Apple within 10 years (a bold statement given the electric car company sold 35,000 cars last year, just beating out the 30,000 iPhones Apple sold each hour last quarter). Regardless of Tesla’s promises, the future of electric cars hinges on advances in batteries which, in turn, hinge on how companies—and the country—choose to pursue those advances. Continue reading

Cleantech entrepreneurs fighting the last war

Two articles give different views of the battlefield that is cleantech entrepreneurship these days: one from 1000’ and the other from the trenches. They offer a good lesson on the importance of having an innovation strategy informed by history more than hyperbole. Continue reading

Disruptive Policy and Innovation

Disruptive Policy

The business world has embraced the notion of disruptive technologies and, in large part, so has the public sector, and yet so many of the most significant innovations have been tipped by disruptive policies, not technologies. Continue reading

Designing the Revolution

EdisonBaked into most stories of technology revolutions is the misconception that new technologies disrupt older ones because of some distinctive advantage. Sometimes it’s just the opposite. From the light bulb to the computer to solar power, the fate of innovations (and of the companies that bet on them) hinges less on technical superiority than on the details of their designs. When developing new products, the challenge is to balance performance with the need to be accepted.

(to read more on The Hargadon Files, follow the link to Designing the Revolution)

Risk, Uncertainty, and the Challenge of Sustainable Innovation

Innovation is risky business. For companies pursuing sustainable innovations, these risks take on the scale of the effort and the context of the problems, the politics, and the markets involved. The most important aspect of this challenge to sustainable innovation is understanding the nature of risk at work. Without this understanding, innovation efforts are paralyzed and innovation policies—especially those intending to promote new investments—stifle them instead.

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