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Spanning the chasm between invention genius and arrival in the marketplace
There is no lack of great ideas and technologies, but they often
languish. Dave Muchow proposes the establishment of technology screening
and incubation centers around the U.S. to finally help some of the many great
clean technologies to make it to the market.
Pure Energy Systems News
Copyright © 2010
I got a call yesterday from New Energy Congress advisor and Skybuilt Power CEO,
David Muchow, informing me of an article he composed that appeared in the
Christian Science Monitor on July 16 called
New ways to accelerate green energy and jobs
in which he points out that the innovation economy depends on inventors, and inventors need more support.
He says that problem is not a dearth of good ideas and technologies. The problem is the difficulty of taking those ideas the distance to the marketplace.
All the interim steps can be daunting: proving the proof of principle prototypes, financing and filing patents, developing a professional business plan, engineering the technology into practical embodiments, testing the devices to make sure they will stand up in the marketplace, and getting capital and talent to do all these things in a way that works together successfully. Add on top of that are the obstacles of overcoming opposition to new ideas and fighting the entrenched interests which are threatened by the new idea's success.
Inventors get burned out and disenchanted in the failed process of trying to
bring their technology forward.
This is especially daunting in the field of exotic free energy technologies for several reasons. Sterling's Maxim 1 is that a person's eccentricity is directly proportional to how far they are outside the box. And it might be argued that the further you go outside the box, the better the concepts can get. This is where the truly disruptive technologies are birthed. But the problem is that the eccentric personalities that give birth to these ideas have a very difficult time with the personal skills required to attract the kind of talent and money required to take those ideas the distance.
Muchow proposed three things to bridge this seemingly impossible chasm between the inventor with the great idea and prototype and arrival into the marketplace.
First, he suggests the establishment of a central clearing house for ideas where the merit of the idea can be vetted, improved, and launched on its way. He suggests a "tBay", though I don't know that this name is best for drawing the proper analogy. eBay isn't really is a watering hole of people. It's a shopping mall for developed products the end result, not the beginning vetting, which is what Muchow is trying to convey. The operative word here is more "conference" or "symposium" or "congress" of the virtual variety. That, in large measure, is what I had in mind in founding the
New Energy Congress four and a half years ago, of which Muchow is an advisor. We seek to identify the best clean energy technologies.
Second, Muchow suggests a way of speeding up the patent process which presently is far too costly and time-consuming. He says that establishing a deadline for the patent office to approve a patent would speed the arrival of good technologies into the marketplace, which could provided additional tax revenue funding the patent approval process. I would add that another solution is to open source a technology, bypassing the entire patent process. I've written a lot of
support material showing how open sourcing doesn't mean giving the technology away for free. There are many revenue centers that can be tapped in the process of open sourcing an energy technology. I maintain that technologies that have the criteria of being relatively easy to understand, inexpensive to build, are not encumbered in their intellectual property, and are strongly practical, and revolutionary in their principle, would be ideal for open sourcing. To the extent that a technology doesn't meet these criteria is the extent that the open source route is not suggested, and the more traditional business roll-out path would be better.
Third, Muchow recommends establishing brick and mortar facilities for relevant individuals and groups to be able to meet and facilitate the emergence of the technology and company into a viable market-ready entity. He envisions creating "Local Technology Centers (LTCs) in each state perhaps 100 of them where inventors, businesses, law firms, investors, government representatives, and engineers all could meet." These would be physical places for incubating the best technologies.
"These LTCs would be an entrepreneurs bazaar. They would have meeting rooms, secretarial support, and engineering software. Investors could get advice on patents and business matters from law firms, consultants, and venture capital firms, and meet with research institutions.
"There would be facilities for fabricating prototypes. It would buzz with all the players working together in the creative process. Retired executives, engineers, and others could be added as a green technology volunteer corps or be paid by getting an equity share of the invention."
Muchow sees initial funding for such facilities coming from the Federal government, possibly augmented by venture capital. Eventually, successfully technologies that are spawned from these centers could replenish the funds received, plus interest, or a small percentage of the profit.
I personally don't trust the U.S. Federal government to do something that would
provide true solutions to our addiction to oil and our dependence on a central
grid. They are too invested and corrupted by the oil industry and a
central, controlling authoritarian paradigm. However, I do know that the
corruption is not absolute, and there are yet many good people within government
who could facilitate something actually beneficial to the emergence of
game-changing free energy. After things are turned right-side-up from
their up-side-down state of present, I could see the federal government filling
a role like Muchow suggests.
As I see it, the first of these three of Muchow's suggestions is already being accomplished to a certain extent. We
at the New Energy Congress are finding some very interesting and promising technologies. What is missing is adequate support structure to plug these best technologies into to help them go the distance. So many technologies and inventors are languishing for lack of support.
Some kind of incubation service needs to be introduced that can nurture more of the good technologies along.
I know of a few individuals and companies that are looking for an awesome free energy technology to wrap themselves around; and they are networked with a lot of great talent, but their threshold of what they will consider is necessarily very stringent. It would be nice to have a technology center like Muchow suggests, to enable more of the really good ideas and technologies to have a chance at going the distance.
The most difficult obstacle in these technology centers would be in getting the potentially competing interests to work together. Usually, the reason people invest time, talents, or money into a technology is because they think they have a good chance of getting a return on their investment. How do you motivate people to help a technology along if their hope for such a return is not tied to their assistance? How would you finance such an operation with all the hours it would entail from a wide number of professionals?
From what my vantage point, the hardest thing in such a proposal is to get it launched. Once even one technology makes it to market, the revenues coming back from its success could finance the technology center. We're talking game-changing technologies which will become multi billion dollar companies.
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