Thursday, October 29, 2009

Green technology outlook: hazy, with a flurry of press-releases.

A big part of my job is to assess the future course of emerging technologies.  This requires that I use a critical eye to examine the data that is available, where it comes from, and how it is made.  Sometimes the data available looks more high-risk than the technology it describes!

Emerging technologies are barely off the ground.  There is little solid data to work with, the poor quality of the data allows for varying interpretations, and it is all biased.  The more "disruptive" a technology is, the harder it is to model.  But without a model for future growth, it is hard to get start-up funding and hard to get changes into the marketplace. 

So what is the entrepreneur or investor to do?  One approach is to buy a published report that aligns with their vision of the future.  In this scenario, reports that trumpet optimistic figures are more likely to sell.  On the road to a business plan or press release, these reports are a tempting short-cut.

In my search for the real story, these reports can be an obstacle in my path.  Repeated by blogs, and tweets, and other reports in turn, I cannot ignore them.  Neither can I trust them.

Beginning with this post, I will try a new approach.  As an experiment, I will let the data speak for themselves, charting predictions from several reports at once and sharing the results on the blog.

Later today, a look at predictions about "bioplastics"

Let me know what you think.

Green future: A fun ride for all?
Photo: BenSpark at Flickr

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