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Innovation vs. Implementation

Posted on August 12, 2010 by yiqi

 

I was reading this article on grist and it got me thinking.

Far be it for me to comment on the actions and intentions of Mr. Bill Gates, as mentioned in the article, but I have to agree with the writer on one thing: Why are we asking for more money for R&D instead of putting money in implementing the many technologies available at our disposal?

The main issue, and this is not just green energy but with environmentally conscious products and services, is the price gap between these products and the currently available ones. As a consumer, looking at the plastic plates going at $2 for 20, versus the corn starch plates at $5 for 20, many consumers are forced to go the the prior. That is a situation that won’t go away. Not in the near future.

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So while it’s cool to promote R&D, innovation, creativity, things like that, many technologies are available today that is just sitting there, waiting for someone to putting them to use, waiting for someone to implement the idea.

This is where big spenders can come in. Big spender in question: the Government! Yes! In any developed country, we often observe that the governmental bodies are often the single largest spending entity. So in the quest to bring environmentally friendly products, services and even renewable energy to the mass market prices, what better way than government spending to lead the way? If the government is willing to channel expenditure towards renewable energy sources, for example, energy providers can easily achieve economies of scale, making it cost competitive with traditional sources of energy. After all, the same sources of energy received huge financial help to begin with, why not new vendors?

The point I’m trying to push, and the same (more or less) point is raised in the article, is this, larger spenders like the governments and multi-nationals can push the implementation bit further for the manufacturers of environmentally friendly products, as well as sustainable service providers. If these purchasers shift their monies towards the aforementioned suppliers, then it means they can achieve economies of scale a lot quicker.

Let’s look at it this way: the petrol industry didn’t take over our lives overnight. It wasn’t a miracle cure to all our needs. It was subsidized heavily by the governments of the world. Why shouldn’t renewable energies and sustainable practices not receive the same benefit of doubt?

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