Innovation Starvation or Risk Avoidance?

While working on our report on Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks, one of my favourite SciFi authors, Neal Stephenson, popped up with an essay on Innovation Starvation. It echoes Tyler Cowen‘s arguments that all the easy big stuff has been done,  and that all we have left to look forward to are incremental improvements rather than world changing …

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What Is Technology For?

(Foreword to Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks , October 2011) This is a question that often comes up in our dealings with global policy makers who spend huge sums on scientific research while simultaneously being fearful of its consequences. Many believe that it is somehow important for the economy in an undefined and non-quantifiable manner, or that it is some …

Cleantech Investors Desperately Seeking The Exit

In my predictions over the last year I mentioned that Clean Tech would have a rocky time in 2009 for four reasons Renewable energy interest tends to lag oil prices by 6-12 months and with oil almost back to 2006 levels a lot of transient interest will evaporate Lot’s of clean tech companies based their business models on sustained high …

Angels vs VCs

Stephen Fleming at Academic VC has an interesting article about the diverging interests of angel investors & VCs. The basic premise is that the high returns required by venture funds drive them to take decisions which are neither in the interest of the founders nor the early stage (Angel) investors. I’ve seen this happen in a number of companies, and …

The Best Minds in the UK At Loggerheads Over Technology

British scientists are hopping mad about comments from Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, who recently argued against increased science funding, presumably on the grounds that all the money had already been spent on health and safety agencies, totally ineffective government agencies and bailing out Scottish Banks.  I would expect the Governor of the Bank of England to understand a little bit of …

Building a .-tech economy from the ashes of the current one

Thomas Friedman in this weekends New York Times echoes my recent thoughts on how to get us out of the credit crunch recession: As we invest taxpayer money, let’s do it with an eye to starting a new generation of biotech, info-tech, nanotech and clean-tech companies, with real innovators, real 21st-century jobs and potentially real profits for taxpayers. Our motto …