Business Insight – Is it Innovation or Research?

Is it Innovation or Research?
By Roger La Salle
Setting the scene!
To preface this article the following TED talk may be worth a watch, (although I did give this link in the last article). This talk shows some of our energy problems and is a real laugh as you get into it:

A little one sided
The ABC in Australia recently screened a program on the virtues of home battery power storage. Unfortunately they failed to once mention that with present technology there is absolutely no financial payback for such a system. Further, even a 10kWhour battery would have insufficient power to cook a single large family roast dinner.

Of course the charging of batteries can be from solar panels but no mention was made of the cost of these or the need to keep them clean or that in Australia even the most sun drenched place has only 36% of full sun hours. To their credit the program highlighted the great benefit of off peak charging from the grid.

No doubt that in the fullness of time local power will be the order of the day. How long it takes us to get there is anybody’s guess but one thing is certain, whilst this technology is being rolled out, with vast subsidies, power prices are being forced up and tax payers worldwide are footing the bill whether or not you embrace this technology. Much the same of course can be said of the power from the ever growing array of wind farms.

On the positive side one may think this will eventually lead to the extinction of the ugly, expensive and fire prone poles and wires – not so.

More poles and wires are being installed every day to support the growing farms of wind generators, again subsidised by the taxpayer.

Personally, I am all for renewables, but at what cost and who is driving this agenda and what is the effect on power hungry industries such as aluminium manufacture or smelting and the like. Is this agenda killing industries in developed countries, industries that make essential products that are not then removed from the face of the earth but simply relocated to lower cost countries with the nett effect on carbon emissions being the same or more likely, even worse.

Can it work anywhere?
Presently I am involved in a project that uses battery power, supplemented in some small way by the grid, but this is a commercial application with real payback, a positive value proposition. That makes it workable and different and we don’t need any government subsidy to make it workable.

Innovation – the way forward
Anybody that knows me recognises I am a champion of innovation, but in the commercial world innovations need to stand on their own legs.

Innovation is about “change that adds value”, otherwise it’s called research.

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Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast.

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