Are we losing the Energy Transition Battle? Innovation to the rescue?

The growing fears are that we are falling behind the need to meet the Energy Transition required goals to the World has agreed to by 2050, set to meet the Paris Climate Agreement.

The climate is about to get really difficult to predict. We are facing some of the natural consequences of our present inability not to reduce greenhouse gases at the rate they are required.  We as humans are the perpetrators of generating all these greenhouse gases, and global warming is ruining this one and only planet we have.

Each part of the world is pursuing its energy agenda, understandably so in many ways, but the shift from the dependence on fossil fuels and recognizing all future solutions should be clean energy.

Our environment is in such a significant crisis when you witness the changing weather patterns increasingly becoming unstable and unpredictable. Then we have the increased frequency and amount of flooding or drought many places in the world are facing, let alone the melting of our ice caps and arctic regions.

Our planet is under great stress. Continue reading

Thinking sustainability needs a mix of future scenarios.

The accelerating need to build a sustainability pathway

Sustainability is rising to be top or close to the top of a boards agenda. The growing concerns of several intertwined issues need addressing as they will initiate a significant change to the Business and how it operates and presents itself to the world.

Boards are asking where our business fits within and alongside society, both in who we serve and society in general, coupled with realising that the planet is heading towards a critical crisis and what we can do to reduce these pressures?

Not just sustainability forces a sharper need for strategic choices but the ability to undertake the product reinvention. A reinvention that concerns itself with reducing waste, minimizing carbon emissions, valuing the full life cycle and the ability to show the increasingly important end-of-life part of the lifecycle model. To extract precious, rare earth minerals and recycle parts reduces the demand for future mining or heat intensive materials.

Any products need to have a clear understanding of all their stages for the clarity of sustainability. Continue reading

Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation

“Without a major acceleration in clean energy innovation, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 will not be possible.”

A groundbreaking report, “Net-Zero by 2050: a roadmap for the global energy system“(referred to as NZE here) by the Internation Energy Agency (IEA), has been emphasising that this decade is pivotal to reaching net-zero by mid-century.

This 2050 target is in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement, the foundations of global consensus to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5c. This requires nothing short of a total transformation of the energy systems.

The report is the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net-zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.

The report sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway, resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes in reaching net zero.

The role of innovation has a crucial one to play.

In the near term, the report describes a net-zero pathway that requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies, combined with a major global push to accelerate innovation. Continue reading

One great visual paints a thousand innovating words

One great visual paints a thousand words

This visual I came across some years back, and for me, is outstanding in providing the feedback loops that go into developing the right innovation vision. To get to a definitive endpoint of having an innovation vision, you are faced with some complex challenges. These are well shown here.

Each influences the other and constantly loop back, making an improving vision success hopefully.

The critical feedback needs for constructing an innovation vision

The different challenges seen in this terrific depiction provide the sort of dialogue and efforts that needs to go into ‘crafting’ the innovation vision. It is hard, thoughtful work. Let’s look at each of these a little more.

The Time Challenge
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Going beyond the 5 bold steps offered to Reimagine the American Innovation Agenda

I have been reading a report written by Stephen J Ezell of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) along with a guru of innovation, John Kao, of ILSi on their concerns that something is amiss with the U.S. innovation system.

The report “Five Bold Steps Towards a Reimagined American Innovation Agenda“, written in February 2021, argues for embracing these five bold steps of story, stewardship, strategy, scaling, and system reimagine innovation for the decade ahead.

In all honesty, it is a little underwhelming, not just the bold but simple five steps but the short document of five pages. It assumes a position, and that is dangerous.

Their argument regarding innovation is that Americans have come to see U.S. leadership as a birthright, as a matter of course. In my view, they lost the leadership mantle for innovation years back. I totally agree it should and needs to come back as a bedrock of future growth, prosperity and dramatically altering today’s landscape. Continue reading

Human-centred innovation in a digital world.

Today we are facing many current disruptions where we need to react fast and intelligently. There are many situations we are facing that is a race against time. As we continue to respond to Covid-19, technology has the power to reduce the complexity often faced, speed up and contribute to solutions that help resolve pressing issues.

We recognize that equally as important as the technology are the people using the technology. Having people at the centre of designs enables more intelligent, rapid and lasting innovation.  The Digital Twin is where data from the physical and virtual world come together and is increasingly where people and technology come together to resolve many of today’s challenges.

Applying human-centred innovation

Tony Hemmelgarn, the CEO of Siemens Digital Industries Software, presented “Human-centred Innovation” at the Hannover Messe show (April 12th to 16th, 2021), which was held in a virtual environment. Continue reading

Adopting a Rapid Digital Innovation Process

As we start to think about the next year, (is it here already?) it is a time of reflection and some forward thinking. We do need to make some real changes.

From my standpoint, I am simply amazed at how the world seems to be spinning faster and faster. I am convinced my working days are shorter or the clock is moving faster or worse still, I am being “deflected” even more by everything “digital”.

I never seem to finish what I had intended to complete by the end of a day or week. I then get caught up in the spillover effect. Something always gets in the way, something has to give. So we make a resolution to change something to improve on this constant catch up state we find ourselves in. We all seem to be spinning faster but equally slowing down. Often our innovation activities face the same dilemma.

Innovation needs time, it needs evolution and resolution but also speeding up

Here are some thoughts for our future. The need for innovation results has sped up considerably. The belief that lean management principles will get the innovation out of the door quicker, has been one of those management adoptions that often trick us into believing we are achieving more than we actually are. Reality is, we have only been tackling part of the innovation process and the end results often remain the same – a slow process of innovation follows as lean hits organization reality, it gets caught up in internal roadblocks, countless discussions, and debates.

Certainly, in the majority of cases we have found nothing wrong at all with applying lean management, as it tends to lead to improvements in a final outcome, but does it actually speed up the process? I’m not sure it does. Leans slows down and becomes increasingly burdened by fat being layered on, further down the innovation execution process.

For me, I think the real need is in speeding up of the whole innovation process, approaching the whole innovation in a systematic way, as the only path to tread in the years ahead. We need to broaden out the whole process of rapid innovation application beyond the two current favorites of lean and design thinking. That requires it to be fully connected up and that means making the innovation process one that is fully digital, on a platform and accessible by all, those that can bring value and meaning to the process to deliver greater innovation outcomes. We need a greater innovation rapid prototype approach to the whole innovation process- test, learn, adapt, adjust, iterate, refine at speed and rapid scaling.

Continue reading

Ring Fencing Constrains Innovation

It is the very act of ‘ring-fencing’ we have constrained innovation. We then can limit risk, as well as we are constantly separating it from the center of the company, even though many of us try to push it back towards the core.

Innovation remains separate for the clear majority of our companies even today as it is full of unknowns and question marks. Top executives just do not like the sound of this, so they seek to ring-fence innovation. One where they want to contain it, to try to tame it, so it can mirror their (mistaken) believe that our world is one of order, control, and stability.

Instead of embracing that the real world is actually an innovating world, full of opportunity, for those prepared to take a greater risk, will have much to gain. Regretfully we still see many companies operating with a 20th-century mindset. Thankfully the pressure upon companies to innovate, to get their growth back, is getting a very tough place to operate in today without tangible demonstration of innovation being realized. There is this need to “embrace” innovation. If not, rapid extinction is occurring for many that choose to ignore the sweeping changes we are witnessing in the business world, where more open and technology-driven innovators are connecting and collaborating. Those companies that only halve-heartedly attempting change are fearful and still want to “box” innovation in. A transformation where innovation and technology go hand-in-hand does have to be utterly full on to succeed! Continue reading