Innovation Fuels Global Change

The global economy is fueled by innovation. Whether innovation takes place in a garage or by large multi-national corporations, such activity provides jobs at many different levels. Fostering an environment for innovation is not only the responsibility of governments, but also individuals and corporations. GE, a company which owes its origin to Thomas Edison, has been and continues to be an innovator.

In the world of cleantech, innovation is occurring at a breakneck pace to fuel change for the greater good. Companies around the world are pushing cleantech. Whether it is a start-up like Sapphire Energy developing algae biofuels or a large auto manufacturer like Ford developing electric vehicles and exploring the use of sustainable materials, cleantech innovation is fueling a new generation of inventors and creating new jobs.

While GE has become a leader in wind turbine manufacturing, the company has also fueled the dreams of many smaller innovators. Through its ecomagination program, GE has committed $200 million to help fund dynamic cleantech startups. Recently, the company has teamed up with UK based Carbon Trust to establish a $5 million business incubator fund to invest in start-ups in the area of low-carbon infrastructure technologies.

To document GE’s innovations over the years, the company has developed an interactive data visualization which allows users to search through and view the company’s annual reports since 1892. For instance, users will be able to search for relevant pages dealing with energy, solar, and wind.

Innovation is not just about the here, now, and future. Innovation is also about the past and learning about what worked, what did not work at that snapshot in time, and whether what did not work at one point in time may work in the future. Innovators are often light years ahead of the market, but by documenting the past, we may have a window into the future.

Sponsored post: Written in collaboration with GE

Walter Wang is Managing Editor of CleanTechies. Follow Walter on twitter: @energytaxprof.

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