A building groundswell for hard tech innovation
The American research enterprise has long been concerned with turning breakthrough ideas into industrial reality. Our effort is built on the ideas of a broad range of thinkers that embody and epitomize this project. Here's some of what we're reading to get inspired, and keep coming back to, time and again.
"A better way to deliver innovation to the world" L. Rafael Reif, President, M.I.T. The Washington Post, May 22nd, 2015
... Today, our highly optimized, venture-capital-driven innovation system is simply not structured to support complex, slower-growing concepts that could end up being hugely significant — the kind that might lead to disruptive solutions to existential challenges in sustainable energy, water and food security, and health. ... the United States needs a more systematic way to help its bottled-up new-science innovators deliver their ideas to the world. ... Washington Post
"We Need Clean-Energy Innovation, And Lots of It" Bill Gates, Gatesnotes, July 27th, 2015
... These are solvable problems. If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently, and saving lives by reducing pollution. ... Gatesnotes
"Innovating with Energy Technologies: We Must 'Think Big' From the Start" Jay Whiteacre, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Aquion Energy, MIT Technology Review, September 15th, 2015.
... Budding inventors working in this space face a stark choice. They can develop technology that is highly manufacturable using existing equipment from the start. Or they can figure out how to develop both a product and a new manufacturing approach in parallel. This choice isn’t well understood by most fledgling innovators, who simply have not experienced the world of “energy-scale” manufacturing. The old adage “the rest is engineering”—often implied during presentations of high-profile benchtop results—is a vast understatement. ... MIT Technology Review
"Constructing Innovation Supply Chains for the Pharmaceutical Industry" Noubar Afeyan, Xconomy, June 26th, 2013
... one could look at innovation as we do any other valuable resource at a company and think across the entire life cycle of an innovation (from conception to inception and beyond) in the form of an innovation supply chain. This would force us to not only better define requirements (unmet needs and problems, technological hurdles, etc.) but also foster the development of innovations at the earliest stages (without outright vertical integration or ownership). This can be achieved through active and formal collaboration with startups, prior to or at the time of founding, and throughout company and technology development. ... Xconomy
"The Real Science Gap" Beryl Lieff Benderly, Pacific Standard, June 14th, 2010
... Brilliant advances and the industries they foster come from brilliant minds, and for generations the United States has produced or welcomed from abroad the bulk of the world's best scientists, engineers, inventors and innovators. But now, troubling indicators suggest that — unlike the days when the nation's best students flocked to the challenges of the space race, the war on cancer, the tech boom, and other frontiers of innovation — careers in science, engineering and technology hold less attraction for the most talented young Americans. ... Pacific Standard
"The Bell Telephone Laboratories - An Example of An Institute of Creative Technology" Mervin Kelly, Proceedings of the Royal Society, October 10th, 1950
... There has been so much emphasis on industrial research and mass-production methods in my country, that even our well-informed public is not sufficiently aware of the necessary and most important chain of events that lies between the initial step of basic research and the terminal operation of manufacture. In order to stress the continuity of procedures from research to engineering of product into manufacture and to emphasize their real unity, I speak of them as a single entity 'organized creative technology'. ... Royal Society
Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World Jill Jonnes, Random House, 2004 Amazon
The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler Thomas Hager, Broadway Books, 2009 Amazon