Is Printable Graphene The Key To Widespread Applications?

  Nanotechnology has produced no shortage of wonder materials, Buckyballs anyone? Trimetaspheres? Or even carbon nanotubes where producing them at anywhere near the cost that anyone would be willing to pay for them has been a struggle. The main problem with many nanomaterials is that while they may have wondrous properties, conductivity, tensile strength, the ability to cure cancer or …

Madrid: Wake Up and Smell the Entrepreneurial Spirit

After spending ten years running a variety of technology businesses in Madrid, Spain, I’m occasionally invited to contribute my thoughts as to how to escape the current economic crisis. While I’m not a huge fan of Paul Krugman I do agree that we need to start thinking about growth, and that breaking the vicious cycle of firefighting is needed if …

Some Small Thoughts on Big Data

According to IBM… “Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS …

The Stagnation of Innovation

R&D Magazine has an intriguing article linking the decline of entrepreneurship with Japan’s economic woes, something that has consequences for Europe too. One of the biggest differences I often see between entrepreneurial economies like the US and China and more stagnant ones such as in much of Europe and Japan is the attitude to failure, something that is always part …

21st Century Innovation: A Focus On Apps Misses The Big Ideas

Where Are The Big Ideas? As part of my growing obsession with the inefficiency of the innovation system that leads to a huge proportion of good ideas going nowhere if they cannot overcome the multiple hurdles to commercialisation I’m in discussions with a local university business school about pursuing a PhD in the subject. It’s an issue that everyone recognises …

Emerging Technologies in Colombia

Colombia Isn’t Just About… One of the perks of this job is that I get to visit some very interesting places that one wouldn’t normally be able to justify visiting on purely commercial grounds, so this week I found myself in Medellín, Colombia for three days. It’s a city with a variety of reputations: many people still,associate it with Pablo …

Are We Raging At Our Own Ignorance Or Our Indifference To Science?

There has been a lot of anger about banks this week, this piece by Mathew Parris in Saturday’s Times is one of the more eloquent analyses of what is going on. Do you know what Libor is? Be honest. Can you unblushingly claim not just to have furrowed a studious brow over the little potted summaries in this week’s newspapers, …

The UK’s thirty year experiment in innovation policy

In 1981 the UK was one of the world’s most research and development intensive economies, with large scale R&D efforts being carried out in government and corporate laboratories in many sectors. Over the thirty years between then and now, this situation has dramatically changed. A graph of the R&D intensity of the national economy, measured […]

Reinventing The Spanish Economy

I have been in & out of Spain, running companies, getting married, having children, closing companies and more for almost two decades, so the unrelentingly grim news from the Spanish economy is particularly unwelcome. While I was living in Spain I argued vociferously for more investment in translational research, but found myself working with two communities with no incentive to …

Konarka Calls It A Day After A Decade Of Valiant Effort

Two weeks ago I received a press release from Konarka’s PR company announcing that the company’s power plastic products had been integrated into another company’s wall panel systems. As with many of the previous announcements it was greeted by the incredulity that they the company was still going, running around making deals, as they have been tipped for disaster for …