Last night I found myself obsessing about Fatih Birol’s update on our too slow progress toward global climate change goals. This Mission Innovation group is filled with powerful government representatives; brilliant in their fields but, sadly, accustomed to electoral cycles, negotiation and lobbying. All are roadblocks that hinder expedient progress. It made me consider what startup insights for Mission Innovation leaders I could share to support these ardent leaders.
Having launched a few startups myself, and now at the helm of a growing global business, I’m confident we founders can share our lessons learned to support our public government counterparts. Switch was born in Sydney, a city teeming with innovative companies, and our early days taught us that there’s a very real threat of running out of time, money or both. That’s precisely the challenge that Mission Innovation participants face.
This collective promised to double R&D spend in clean energy but they are not making rapid, significant headway. They must “get scrappy” and make decisions post-haste. The future world will not thank us for slow, forever-lobbied, conservative decisions. Driving impactful change means making effective decisions TODAY. Here are three key startup insights for mission innovation leaders from a startup turned globally recognized innovation company.
3 Key startup insights for Mission Innovation leaders
- Cultivate your appetite for risk Innovation and R&D means risk. Startups wake in the morning and get stuff done and are comfortable knowing that not everything will work as planned. Try things and fail fast; we call this failing forward. Make use of data instead of assumptions.
- Look for the business opportunity Startups must develop viable business models in order to build scalable companies. Likewise, MI-3 must create new industries, new business models, new economies and thousands of new, skilled jobs.
- Leap first. Be bold. Aim high Solve the unsolvable by embracing ideas that others think are ill-conceived. Don’t ask the taxi drivers if Uber is a good idea. Don’t ask Kodak if digital cameras will take off. Look to opening markets for fresh ideas, out-of-the-box thinking, impossible answers. Curate an environment that attracts and empowers new blood.
I’ve had an incredible week, made even more memorable by the talent, passion and resourcefulness of my fellow Mission Innovation attendees. Speaking as a member of the private sector who is dedicated to cleantech innovation, I say, “Let the innovators be your guide. We’re ready to lead you on this journey to the future of clean energy!”
For the best and brightest clean energy, technology and smart building thought leadership, sign up for Switch Automation’s e-newsletter.