Is the ‘point’ of solar about to change?
Whilst panels were expensive, titling an array of flat rectangles towards the sun was the most economical way to gather light. Much cheaper panels may make this approach obsolete.
Farming machinery’s next big move? Stop getting bigger
Squeezing bigger crop yields out of the soil by just upgrading to larger, heavier, more powerful machines doesn’t look sustainable. Up to 90% of the energy used in crop cultivation is wasted on dealing with the damage caused by the cultivation equipment itself
Are robots with analog AI the future?
Digital brains are just too big, slow and unreliable to interact seamlessly with the fast-moving natural world. Human interaction may be the only phenomenon slow enough to make digital look impressive
12 Robotics projects, all successfully funded using KickStarter
There are hundreds of other robot-themed projects on Kickstarter, I’ve just left out out the books or films about robots, as well as most art, education, hobby and toy projects
Fixing the ‘unsolved problem shortage’ that holds back potential startup founders
Shortages of easily-tackled unsolved problems are a first world problem: elsewhere, countless established ‘solutions’ are just unaffordable, each one a gift to any problem-seeking would-be entrepreneur
Video: talk brings you up to date on just about every major field in genomics
A roller-coaster ‘how we got to where we are today’ tour by the US government’s Director of Research, starting with a look back to the point eleven years ago when the momentous results of the Human Genome Project were made public for the first time
Where is the computational juggernaut driving open science?
Science is ‘going virtual’ in a big way: rapidly escalating computing horsepower is turning lots of real-world research into simulation-based experimentation. Is this helping or hindering the latest open science initiatives?
iij top 20 upcoming innovation books for 2012
There’s a growing interest in introducing an entrepreneurial approach to innovation, whether its happening inside or outside the established organisation
Toys as inspiration: Shrinky-Dink startup epiphanies
At 12 am one night in 2007, a revolutionary engineering idea popped into Michelle Khine’s head. The rest is history (and chemistry, physics, biotech, nanotech, solar: she seems unstoppable)
And so then you just reduce the scale by fifteen orders of magnitude…what?
No, you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to find this fascinating: bio-integrated electronics is full of unimaginably weird but useful things you can do with things like, you know, live brains. It’s all about making electronic things rubbery
Congratulations! you’re eating the world’s first human(e) hamburger!
No dead cows, just real, sustainable beef, made with nothing but yummy stem cells and a touch of magic! All yours for a sizzling €250,000 each. And they’ll get cheaper and cheaper with every passing year (can we call that Moo’s law?)
Innovation competitions: why we need more of them
We’d all be forgiven for imagining that TechCrunch Disrupt and the DEMO Conference were the only regularly held innovation competition events worth talking about, as far as the tech media were concerned. So imagine my surprise…
The new iij top 20 upcoming lean books
At least five of these forthcoming titles major on a healthcare or safety aspect, illustrating just how far this particular management approach has come from its original niche
Can you get sustainable power stations for nothing?
Industrial energy waste turns out to be the most surprisingly overlooked opportunity to make outrageous returns on investment. Energy efficiency in industry is a shockingly untapped market. Modernisation at a single large industrial plant can free up an entire power station
Biomimetic business modelling?
If McKinsey’s believe in it, then even if you are unsure, you’d better get the best briefing you can: these videos may raise just as many questions as answers, but they’re a good starting point
NASA is all about space, right? No? What then?
They have another mission-critical job that you probably didn’t know about. They are required to make air travel on this planet safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly for everyone
The iij top twenty upcoming biotech books
Biotechnology book publishing is soaring. It’s making the job of keeping track of ‘what are the most interesting titles coming out, and when?’ almost impossible. This is our first attempt
Innovation where it’s needed: malnutrition
The name Plumpy’nut may sound quirky, but this ridiculously simple product idea is already keeping countless famine-struck children from starvation and will save millions of lives
Sustainable engineering: the carbon issues
We’ve been looking for a green engineering video ever since our last article on the subject. This excellent briefing definitely makes up for the wait
Can America still pick winners in the energy innovation race?
An opportunity to watch Steve Chu, US Energy Secretary, running us through a list of technologies which he hopes will help America reassert itself in the rapidly intensifying struggle for competitiveness and maybe even its very survival
30,000 Clinical Pathology Labs For A Dollar
No British press coverage for a major innovation story: biotech legend Una Ryan secures funding from both the UK’s Department for International Development and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation
Game-changing technology, no venture capital
Tractors, farm equipment, built at around one eighth the cost. Industrial equipment too. Superior design. Handmade quality. Problem? Investment. Solve it, and Jakubowski becomes a household word. That might just happen anyway.
Yeah, like, there’s this professor that GROWS electrical kit
Apart from biology, our physical world is mostly either dumb, rock hard, or both. We use that hard, dumb stuff to make durable things like tools, vehicles and buildings. Biology, although soft, squishy and smart, somehow also manages to grow incredibly hard things, like shells and teeth. Maybe biology can teach us better ways to make hard stuff too
Investment banking students morph into urban mushroom farming phenomenon
Even if you find the average recycling innovation story boringly predictable, this one, as it gathers momentum with one ludicrously lucky sustainability discovery after another, will have you cheering along with the audience
Sustainable, reversible science: beyond green, maybe even beyond renewable
This astonishing video takes environmental innovation to its outer limits: you’ll need to be pretty imaginative to find a way to invest in the ideas it explores
The iij top 20 upcoming design books for innovators
These titles are at the leading edge of thinking about where design and innovation meet. Not just in predictable design territory, such as consumer products or web and mobile apps, but also in such diverse fields as cultural development, physiological experience analysis and architectural kinetics
iij Top 15 Upcoming Innovation Leadership Books
Apart from being about new ideas and leadership (which is, after all, the entire reason for the list) there’s not much in common between these volumes, other than each one focussing on some unique but pertinent aspect
What did the budget do for UK innovation investors?
Of the incentives announced in the budget, perhaps the most important for innovation may be the increase in the rate of income tax relief. Share scheme specialist Russell Eisen compares the chancellor’s announcements with innovation champion Julie Meyer’s pre-budget suggestions
One million electric vehicles: is this video the trailer?
Does this talk, four months before the announcement offer the best insight into the thinking behind it?
Natural gas: the iij Selected Innovation Briefing
Surprisingly, these influential and outspoken panellists, who you might expect would have opposing views on just about everything, seem to be having a candid, but surprisingly civil conversation about a very controversial subject: was it something in the water?
The iij Top 10 upcoming innovative investment books
This topic is probably the most demanding in the whole field of selecting innovation writing as far as trying to ensure that the subject is being handled in a genuinely insightful way, but I think we’ve found a good selection
iij Selected Innovation Briefing: Biofuels
You’ll need to watch this video if your knowledge of the issues has so far been mostly constrained to news coverage
Sustainable design, but not as we know it?
Going beyond ticking boxes, complying with regulations or keeping up with the latest initiatives, ecological development guru Bill Reed uproots just about everything we think we know about ‘green’ and asks whether we are really delving deeply enough
Two innovation universes, one amazing video
This starts off as a talk about startup methodology but somehow manages to morph into a sales pitch for an intriguing new solar technology. If you’re able to keep up with Bill Gross’s sometimes ferocious pace of delivery, stick with it, it’s well worth the ride
Rethinking space on earth: NASA and sustainable buildings
The Mars Rovers, Opportunity and Spirit’s mission planning software contributed to the technologies which were developed for this mind-bogglingly ambitious building project, producing what may be the most sophisticated environmental control system on the planet.
Cleantech startups: early exit strategies and beyond
What does cleantech look like from a strictly ‘risks and returns’ perspective? What new investment approaches will make the most promising government funded emerging technologies a realistic prospect for scalability and growth?
The most inspiring introduction to Open Science. Ever.
The video never went viral, probably because it has an unexplained ‘interlude’ after 42 minutes 57 seconds which makes it seem to end at a random point. This bizarre showstopping moment didn’t deter your intrepid iij innovation hunters (it actually resumes after about a minute of onscreen weirdness) from recognizing a gem and it certainly shouldn’t stop you watching it
Sound bites are just not enough: what is Jeff Immelt really like?
This video of about an hour gives us a long look at the man and tells you quite a lot about what he thinks about leadership and innovation. Does it give us enough to help us predict how he’ll do in his new position as leader of the new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness?
The iij Top Ten Startup Books for the start of 2011
Shame on us for not managing to get a top ten startup book list out at the end of last year, but most of these titles are barely a month old. Some are obvious choices, but others are quite specialised and deserve more attention than they’ve received
The iij Top 10 Sustainability Books
A painfully difficult new year’s choice amongst a host of highly relevant titles covering a dizzying array of essential issues, but we gave it our best shot.
Clash of innovation news titans
An epic transatlantic on-air wrangle over Google’s future. Veteran BBC innovation investigator Peter Day vs. US prediction guru Mark Anderson. They each put up a characteristically robust performance. But who won? Whatever, it was riveting radio.
Criticism of the iij? Too many solutions, not enough new unsolved problems
Far too often, we only present problems when someone wants to talk about their solutions. So here’s a seriously problem-rich, solution-craving topic: The Economic Impact of Biodiversity
Sustainability: the IT nightmare that never was?
Everyone can see how Big IT could feel threatened by accusations of becoming one of society’s most voracious consumers of energy. And yet, it turns out that IT and sustainability are probably inseparable
A replicator you’d give your right arm for
This video includes the most memorable anecdotes I’ve ever heard. “What’s that doing in there?” his freaked-out girlfriend asked. “Well, I just wanted to see if the artificial leg I just made was dishwasher safe”
The rebirth of the rebirth of distance
It’s been quite a while since the last big fuss about ‘peak oil’: hardly surprising, once oil fell from its pre-crash peak. A guy who made a lot of that fuss is back giving his post-crash perspective in a video. He believes the ‘local vs. global’ balance could be about to change