Cornell FSE # 03 – Coming Clean Technology Bubble

17 February, 2009 at 13:43 1 comment

[via ‘The Great Convergence’ document of Cornell FSE (c) Stuart L. Hart]

    Disruptive lean technologies, including biomaterials, biomimicry, wireless information technology, nanotechnology, sustainable agriculture, point-of-use water purification, renewable energy and distributed generation may hold the keys to solving many of the world’s global environmental and social challenges. And they represent enormous business opportunities for those companies able to develop the competencies needed to effectively commercialize these “leapfrog” green technologies.

    In fact, there has been an explosion of sustainable innovation over the past few years: In 2006, for example, venture capitalists invested nearly $3 billion in “clean technology” deals in North America alone, making it the third largest investment category. There are now literally thousands of new “clean tech” start ups flush with investment capital, particularly in the strategically significant arenas of biofuels and renewable energy.
    Unfortunately, the vast majority of these investments are focused purely on sustainable technology development targeted at the “top of the pyramid.” Comparatively little attention is being paid to creative commercialization strategies or distribution models for clean technologies targeted at the “base of the pyramid,” raising the concern that large numbers of them might fail in the coming years. Furthermore, the pace of technological adoption by existing corporations will ultimately determine the success of these new ventures, since the exit for most will likely be acquisition rather than initial public offering.

    Therefore, until existing incumbent firms increase their appetite for such disruptive, “clean” technologies, the rate of change will continue to fall well short of the challenge – and the opportunity. In short, the clean tech “revolution” might turn out to be the clean tech “bubble.”

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    Entry filed under: BoP, Citizen-Journalism, Deesha, Economy, Energy, Health, India, MCe2, News-Media, Politics, Poverty, WebXP.

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