Continuing the Energy Transition Journey

This week I have had one of those most intense periods of researching and then absorbing the material around different energy issues.

Everywhere you turn, you stumble across reports on one aspect or another of the energy transformation we are undertaking.

I am looking at this energy transition through the eyes of the innovator, as it offers so much in new solutions and designs that any innovator would love to be part of.

Energy is tackling one of the world’s toughest tasks, turning our existing energy system, reliant on fossil fuels into one based on renewables, is an enormously complex set of challenges in its goal of decarbonizing it.

There is such an innovation landscape of solutions that are contributing to the world achieving a more renewable-powered future. Technology innovation, suggested new business models, outline proposals for changing policies, processes, and market design all are being “sketched out.” It is overwhelming, but innovative solutions need to be continuously refreshed to reflect this consistent inflow of understanding, relating to the energy transition that is being undertaken. It is evident innovation must be way broader than just technological RD&D.

During this past week, I have been working through specific aspects of the energy transition model. Continue reading

Innovation adoption in the technology lifecycle for Energy Translation

Building the systems enabling framework. Source: World Economic Forum

Technological innovation has a central role to play in the Energy Transition currently being undertaken throughout the world. The shifts need to take the different parts of the energy system through a lifecycle approach to any future energy system

Briefly, our energy system has been based mostly on fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) and as we extract these, they are non-renewable and the primary cause of the carbonization crisis we are all facing on planet earth. The solutions to replace these fuels are renewables based on wind, solar, biofuels, and have a sustainability credential. The economics of powering the energy system with renewables has got to the point where there is real competitiveness so we can undertake this energy transition and reduce the emissions of carbon into our atmosphere. Continue reading

A feast of opportunities for Siemens?


I decided to invest a decent amount of time into the Siemens 3rd Quarter Announcements and it has been worth it.

I really don’t understand the reporters and analysts attending this event as they seem to continue to stay stuck in their recurring opinions and stances, constant looking in the rear-view mirror. It has its reference points perhaps but it is understanding “the road ahead and its conditions” that provide shareholder value.

We need to become more forward-looking based on strategic outlook, innovation potential and market opportunities.

The analysts seek to always look constantly to the immediate, often not looking beyond their own noses. They seem not to want to go under the bonnet through investigation, just rely on ‘given’ handouts or myopic views, rooted in the short-term. The sound of future innovation potential was in most of the event as very evident but lost in the focus on immediate numbers and results. Why? Continue reading

The enemy is already within. The flood gates are open. Can GE recover?

Managing cash, balancing this out with your liabilities and obligations, knowing your market dynamics, and equally, having a good understanding of where the future growth lies, are all essential for managing any healthy business.

It is then by utilizing robust research and development projects, combined with an acquisition strategy that augments growth, management creates sustainable and evolving business model.

These are the hallmarks of effective leadership. through managing your future development, mostly through research and development, that when combined with a sound acquisition strategy, that you believe will augment your present internal growth, so as to look to sustain the business, longer-term, becomes your contribution as a leader.  These are the bedrock of good corporate management. It seems within GE, all of these have been forgotten or collapsed. Why, I mean how can that have happened?

For a company reputed to have a good management discipline and focus, yet this year, 2017, for GE, it seems all of these are lying in tatters, or some parts will lose out as a consequence, into the future. What has gone wrong at GE?

The last few months have been some of the most shocking ones in GE’s history. GE has been around since 1892 and was one of the corporate titans of the 20th Century. Since the crisis of 2008, GE has been struggling to fully regain its position but all its actions were regarded very highly as “making good progress” as it maintained a relentless momentum of shedding and acquiring operations, as well as pursuing a buying back of its shares, and paying out the beloved GE dividend. This certainly provided a highly dynamic environment for managing the business. There has been a consistent muttering that this was not fast enough or clear enough. Well, GE faces a very different set of realities today.

Today, GE is in a very dark place at this moment. It is managing a full-blown set of crisis, that has investors highly spooked and demanding answers. Its share price is hovering around $17 per share, whereas, in February of this year, it was ranging in the $31- 32 price. Its market valuation, once over $400bn, is now closer to $150bn.

This is a long read, as the story itself is only just emerging and is a complex one. I simply have to step outside my own innovation comfort box to try to get to grips with the breaking GE story. It has shaken me.  I assume you already have some awareness of what is happening in a company that has been held up over so many years, as a model of good management. Continue reading

The Pressures Placed on the Innovator

There are multiple “stretching and straining points” that make the life of the innovator increasingly uncomfortable. These build into increasing frictions where the eventual performance of innovation seemingly disappoints the leadership of organizations. So why is that?

It is only when we can truly understand the constraints innovation works under, can we provide more robust solutions to reduced all these frictions and pain points that innovators are struggling with. There are many.

We often can’t seem to break down the rigidity win the organization’s system, to allow innovation to speed up, connect and deliver on its promise. Organizations continue to struggle with obtaining that higher level of agility and flexibility required for innovation speed of response and delivery.

The culture within organizations still is rather more closed-up into the silo mindset and not encouraged to be more open, engaging across functions in collaborating ways. We attempt co-creation to test ideas and try to deploy these but they come against institutional resistance to change. We continue to rely on emotional and gut decision-making and still have not fully embraced the data-driven cultures to make more informed decisions. All these constraints create that pressure to perform. So much around innovation is not optimal.

Continue reading

Are We Crushing Real Innovation?

Well, this morning I came across an article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, entitled “America has become so anti-innovation – it’s economic suicide written by Ben Tarnoff, a writer on technology and politics, living in San Fransisco.

This article did disturb me, it triggered a number of validations in my own mind. Once you get past the opening rant about the infamous Juicero juicer, that has now been used as an illustration of how investors funded something that automates something that you can do faster by hand.

The article opens up the doors to questioning much that is going on under the Silicon Valley umbrella. The juicer got funding of $120m from a number of blue-chip VC’s but it was not this that actually disturbs me, it was this “ant-innovation” tag the writer was attaching to (North) America.

The article goes deeper in questioning where we are in our innovation thinking. We do have a real innovation growth dilemma that we can’t lay at the door of Silicon Valley alone, it is part of the Western world’s current sickness. It has lost that ability to take a positive risk in so much, ‘kicking the can down the road’ for others to resolve, be these societal, educational, health, infrastructural or institutional reforming and so much more. All really important innovation opportunities. Continue reading

No Company deserves to survive with apathy in its future

The grim reaper of innovationI have always found April a difficult month. It seems to be the defining month for transition between winter and summer. It can fool us on the first day (April fools day) and its weather for us in Europe does exactly the same, usually all month long, confusing us.

One where it is offering up a healthy mix of rain, stronger sun, a little flurry of snow and some heavy wind too.

It can constantly confuse us as it can rapidly alter within the same 24 hours to often keep the heating on, when it should be switched off and visa-versa. It can be an uncomfortable month of adjusting constantly, second guessing of what might be ahead.

On the innovation front I have been experiencing the same feeling of adjusting to uncomfortable days.

Continue reading