Talent for innovation: Getting noticed in a global market


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This report was prepared by BT Group with
the help of the Economist Intelligence Unit.
We would like to thank Tom Standage,
Iain Scott, James Watson, Claire Doble
and Pamela Whitby of the Economist
Intelligence Unit.
Thanks also goes to Rodolfo Lara, Matthias
Lüfkens, Nuno Coelho Martins and Marika
Volosin at the World Economic Forum;
and Gary Shainberg and Simon Dux at BT.
Designed by Michelle Young.

The Technology Pioneers programme is
run by the World Economic Forum with
guidance from BT, KPMG, Kudelski Group
and Accel Partners.

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Talent for innovation: Getting noticed in a global market

  1. 1. Talent for innovation:Getting noticed in a global marketThe World Economic Forum’sTechnology Pioneers 2009
  2. 2. Technology Pioneers are a constituencyof the World Economic Forum.www.weforum.org/techpioneersBT Group, Accel, KPMG and Kudelski Groupare strategic partners of the Technology Pioneersprogramme.BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutionsand services operating in 170 countries. Its principal activities include theprovision of networked IT services globally; local, national and internationaltelecommunications services to our customers for use at home, at work and on themove; broadband and internet products and services and converged fixed/mobileproducts and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT GlobalServices, Openreach, BT Retail and BT Wholesale.In the year ended 31 March 2008, BT Group plc’s revenue was £20,704 millionwith profit before taxation and specific items of £2,506 million.British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group andencompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc islisted on stock exchanges in London and New York.
  3. 3. Contents Preface 4 Foreword 5 Talent for innovation 6 Technology Pioneers 2009 14 Acknowledgements 32 Selection committee 34Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 3
  4. 4. Preface 2009 marks the 10th edition of the Technology Pioneers Award of the World Economic Forum. In the past decade, we have identified close to 400 of the most innovative companies in the fields of biotechnology and health, energy and the environment, and information technologies. They have contributed substantially to the progress of both society and business, and the world is better place due to their impact. This year’s Award marks a significant milestone for several reasons: • We received a record number of 180 candidates, an increase of 50% in comparison to last year. • Our selection committee comprised 44 technology experts from around the world, and included a unique pool of leading academics, media leaders, venture capitalists and business visionaries. • The programme has generated an unprecedented interest from candidates in emerging economies, whose applications constituted 22% of the total. • This year, we welcomed the first ever Technology Pioneers from Africa, Chile and the People’s Republic of China. We are convinced that the globalization of science and technology will continue to improve standards of living around the world in the years to come. The Forum would like to express thanks and appreciation to the members of the selection committee whose enthusiasm and expertise were critical in selecting the impressive group of Technology Pioneers featured in this publication, and to the Partners that generously support this programme: Accel Partners, BT, KPMG and Kudelski Group. During these difficult times, we are certain that the technologies driven by these visionary companies will contribute to the next wave of growth, with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that characterizes them. We will integrate them into our most important initiatives, and they will play a crucial role during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009 with the theme “Shaping the Post-Crisis World”. We congratulate the 34 companies selected as Technology Pioneers for their remarkable achievements, and welcome them to the wider community of the World Economic Forum. André Schneider Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer World Economic Forum4 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  5. 5. ForewordI am delighted the Technology Pioneers programme This year’s global list of Technology Pioneersof the World Economic Forum is celebrating its tenth demonstrably proves that it is the freedom toanniversary because this year’s class is one of the innovate that marks visionary companies apartmost geographically diverse ever, proving once again in the global innovation marketplace.that when it comes to innovation, talent truly knowsno borders. To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of life-This year, our essay “Talent for Innovation” concludes changing technology innovation and have thethat the quest for talent has become a defining potential for long-term impact on countries,issue. In today’s world people can work for anyone companies and communities on a planetary basis.from anywhere thanks to technology – work is beingdefined as something you do rather than somewhere In addition, it must demonstrate visionary leadership,you go. show all the signs of being a long-standing market leader – and its technology must be proven. PreviousToday the shortage driving this global talent search is Technology Pioneers include Amyris Biotechnologies,not restricted to technical skill (which typically can be Dr Reddy Laboratories, Google, Gridpoint, Hycrete,taught) but it’s about finding people and companies Infosys, Kaspersky Lab, Mozilla Corporation,who have hybrid skills and are prepared to lead the RainDance Technologies and Wikimedia Foundation.charge, embracing the challenge of innovation andchange. I want to personally thank the global judging panel for their efforts in pinpointing this year’s innovationWe are fast moving to a world where enterprises leaders in biotech, health, energy, environmentalhave porous boundaries, with people, systems and tech and IT. This group of companies is the resultprocesses shifting beyond these boundaries – this of a vigorous selection process, in which the Forumworld is smaller, flatter and even more connected. received an unprecedented number of candidatesInnovation networks are crossing these perimeters from around the world. For the first time, we haveto harness this surge of ideas. They are an integral included the impressive list of judges on page 34 topart of BT’s open innovation strategy, which I lead. recognise their contribution to the programme.Our belief in the transformational power ofinnovation is at the heart of why BT is a committed Matt Brossstrategic partner of the World Economic Forum’s CEO BT Innovate andTechnology Pioneers programme. BT Group Chief Technology OfficerTalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 5
  6. 6. Talent for innovationBreakthrough ideas readily cross borders and as a result there is an emergingglobal market for innovation talentL eonardo Da Vinci unquestionably had it in at Columbia University, argues that such the 15th century; so did Thomas Edison “orchestration” of innovation can actually be more in the 19th century. But today, “talent for important in driving economic activity than pureinnovation” means something rather different. research. “In a world where breakthrough ideasInnovation is no longer the work of one individual easily cross national borders, the origin of ideas istoiling in a workshop. In today’s globalised, inconsequential,” he writes. Ideas cross borders notinterconnected world, innovation is the work just in the form of research papers, e-mails and webof teams, often based in particular innovation pages, but also inside the heads of talented people.hotspots, and often collaborating with partners,suppliers and customers both nearby and in other This movement of talent is not simply drivencountries. Innovation has become a global activity by financial incentives. Individuals may also beas it has become easier for ideas and talented people motivated by a desire for greater academic freedom,to move from one country to another. This has both better access to research facilities and funding, orquickened the pace of technological development the opportunity to work with key researchers in aand presented many new opportunities, as creative particular field. Countries that can attract talentedindividuals have become increasingly prized and individuals can benefit from more rapid economicthere has been greater recognition of new sources of growth, closer collaboration with the countries wheretalent, beyond the traditional innovation hotspots of those individuals originated, and the likelihood thatthe developed world. immigrant entrepreneurs will set up new companies and create jobs.If a country educates workers at the taxpayers’ Mobility of talent helps toexpense, does it not have a claim on their talent? link companies to sources of foreignThe result is a global exchange of ideas, and a global innovation and research expertise, to the benefit ofmarket for innovation talent. Along with growth in both. Workers who emigrate to another country mayinternational trade and foreign direct investment, bring valuable knowledge of their home markets withthe mobility of talent is one of the hallmarks them, which can subsequently help companies inof modern globalisation. Talented innovators the destination country to enter those markets moreare regarded by companies, universities and easily. Analysis of scientific journals suggests thatgovernments as a vital resource, as precious as oil or international co-authorship is increasing, and there iswater. They are sought after for the simple reason some evidence thatcollaborative work has a greaterthat innovation in products and services is generally impact than work carried out in one country. Skilledagreed to be a large component, if not the largest individuals also act as repositories of knowledge,component, in driving economic growth. training the next generation and passing on their accumulated wisdom.It should be noted that “innovation” in this contextdoes not simply mean the development of new, But the picture is complicated by a number ofcutting-edge technologies by researchers. It also concerns. In developed countries which haveincludes the creative ways in which other people then historically depended to a large extent on foreignrefine, repackage and combine those technologies talent (such as the United States), there is anxiety thatand bring them to market. it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract talent as new opportunities arise elsewhere. ComparedIndeed, in his recent book, “The Venturesome with the situation a decade ago, Indian softwareEconomy”, Amar Bhidé, professor of business engineers, for example, may be more inclined to set6 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  7. 7. up a company in India, rather than moving to America Brain drain, or gain?to work for a software company there. Perhaps the most familiar aspect of the debate about flows of talent is the widely expressed concern aboutIn developed countries that have not historically the “brain drain” from countries that supply talentedrelied on foreign talent (such as Germany), workers. If a country educates workers at themeanwhile, the ageing of the population as the birth taxpayers’ expense, does it not have a claim on theirrate falls and life expectancy increases means there talent? There are also worries that the loss of skilledis a need to widen the supply of talent, as skilled workers can hamper institutional development andworkers leave the workforce and young people drive up the cost of technical services. But suchshow less interest than they used to in technical concerns must be weighed against the benefits ofsubjects. And in developing countries, where there is greater mobility.a huge supply of new talent (hundreds of thousandsof engineers graduate from Indian and Chinese There are not always opportunities for skilleduniversities every year), the worry is that these individuals in their country of birth. The prospectgraduates have a broad technical grounding but of emigration can encourage the developmentmay lack the specialised skills demanded by of skills by individuals who may not in fact decideparticular industries. to emigrate. Workers who emigrate may send remittances back to their families at home, whichOther shifts are also under way. The increasing can be a significant source of income and can helpsophistication of emerging economies (notably India to alleviate poverty. And skilled workers may returnand China) is overturning the old model of “create to their home countries after a period workingin the West, customise for the East”. Indian and abroad, further stimulating knowledge transferChinese companies are now globally competitive in and improving the prospects for domestic growth,many industries. And although the mobility of talentis increasing, workers who move to another countryare less likely to stay for the long-term, and are morelikely to return to their country of origin. The numberof Chinese students studying abroad increased from125,000 in 2002 to 134,000 in 2006, for example,but the proportion who stayed in the country wherethey studied after graduating fell from 85% to 69%over the same period, according to figures from theOECD (see page 10).What is clear is that the emergence of a globalmarket for talent means gifted innovators aremore likely to be able to succeed, and newand unexpected opportunities are beingexploited, as this year’s TechnologyPioneers demonstrate. They highlightthree important aspects of the globalmarket for talent: the benefits of mobility,the significant role of diasporas, and theimportance of network effects in catalysinginnovation.Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 7
  8. 8. International mobility of the highly skilled: employed professional and technical migrantsfrom OECD and non-OECD country of residenceAs a percentage of total employed professionals and technicians in the country of residence1 48.5 46.5 46.5 46.8 48.6 48.6 50.5 48.4 51.2 53.2 54.0 53.5 55.2 33.1 46.7 53.9 42.6 49.0 50.7 43.4 53.4 41.4 49.4 47.3 37.1 47.9 47.6 40% NA n From OECD countries 35 n From non-OECD economies Share of women in employed professional and technical migrants3 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Mexico Poland Finland Slovak Republic Czech Republic Switzerland Canada New Zealand Australia Hungary Italy Denmark Germany 2 Spain Norway EU19 Greece Sweden Belgium France Netherlands OECD Austria United Kingdom United States Portugal Ireland Luxembourg1 Data are not available for Iceland, Japan, Korea and Turkey, which are excluded from the OECD total.2 The country of birth is unknown for a significant number of employees who have been excluded from the calculation.3 Data for the United States are not available. The OECD total excludes Iceland, Japan, Korea, Turkey and the United States.4 Excluding Belgium, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey as country of residence.5 OECD migrants to all available OECD countries except Iceland, Japan, Korea, Turkey and the United States.6 Excluding migrants to Belgium, Iceland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey. Source: OECD Science Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2007since they will maintain contacts with researchers mobility of talent opens up new possibilities and canoverseas. benefit everyone.As a result, argues a recent report from the OECD, Consider, for example, BioMedica Diagnostics ofit makes more sense to talk of a complex process Windsor, Nova Scotia. The company makes medicalof “brain circulation” rather than a one-way “brain diagnostic systems, some of them battery-operated,drain”. The movement of talent is not simply a that can be used to provide health care in remotezero-sum gain in which sending countries lose, and regions to people who would otherwise lack access toreceiving countries benefit. Greater availability and it. It was founded by Abdullah Kirumira, a Ugandan8 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  9. 9. biochemist who moved to Canada in 1990 and for 10-25% of all drugs sold, and over 80% in somebecame a professor at Acadia University. There he countries. The World Health Organisation estimatesdeveloped a rapid test for HIV in conjunction with that a fake vaccine for meningitis, distributed inone of his students, Hermes Chan (a native of Hong Niger in 1995, killed over 2,500 people. mPedigreeKong who had moved to Canada to study). was established by Bright Simons, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur, in conjunction with Ashifi Gogo,According to the United States Centers for Disease a fellow Ghanaian. The two were more than justControl, around one-third of people tested for HIV acquaintances having met at Secondary School.do not return to get the result when it takes days There are many high-tech authentication systemsor weeks to determine. Dr Kirumira and Dr Chan available in the developed world for drug packaging,developed a new test that provides the result in three involving radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips,minutes, so that a diagnosis can be made on the DNA tags, and so forth.spot. Dr Kirumira is a prolific inventor who went on tofound several companies, and has been described as The mPedigree system developed my Mr Gogo, an“the pioneer of Nova Scotia’s biotechnology sector”. engineering student, is much cheaper and simplerToday BioMedica makes a range of diagnostic and only requires the use of a mobile phone — anproducts that are portable, affordable and robust, item that is now spreading more quickly in Africamaking them ideally suited for use in developing than in any other region of the world. Once thecountries. They allow people to be rapidly screened drugs have been purchased, a panel on the label isfor a range of conditions, including HIV, hepatitis, scratched off to reveal a special code. The patientmalaria, rubella, typhoid and cholera. The firm’s then sends this code, by text message, to a particularcustomers include the World Health Organisation. number. The code is looked up in a database and a message is sent back specifying whether the drugsProviding such tests to patients in the developing are genuine. The system is free to use because theworld is a personal mission of Dr Kirumira’s, but it drug companies cover the cost of the text messages.also makes sound business sense: the market for in- It was launched in Ghana in 2007, and mPedigree’svitro diagnostics in the developing world is growing founders hope to extend it to all 48 sub-Saharanby over 25% a year, the company notes, compared African countries within a decade, and to other partswith growth of only 5% a year in developed nations. of in the developing world.Moving to Canada gave Dr Kirumira research The effort is being supported by Ghana’s Food and Drug Board, and by local telecomsThe mobility of talent is one of the operators and drug manufacturers. Mr Gogo hashallmarks of modern globalisation now been admitted into a special progamme at Dartmouth College in the United Statesopportunities and access to venture funding that that develops entrepreneurial skills, in addition towere not available in Uganda. His innovations now technical skills, in engineers. Like Dr Kirumira, he isprovide an affordable way for hospitals in his native benefiting from opportunities that did not exist in hiscontinent of Africa to perform vital tests. home country, and his country is benefiting too.A similar example is provided by mPedigree, a This case of mPedigree shows that it is wrong tostart-up that has developed a mobile-phone-based assume that the movement of talent is one-waysystem that allows people to verify the authenticity (from poor to rich countries) and permanent. As itof medicines. Counterfeit drugs are widespread in has become easier to travel and communicationsthe developing world: they are estimated to account technology has improved, skilled workers haveTalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 9
  10. 10. Decreasing stay ratio of chinese students also provide a channel for knowledge and skills to pass back to the home country.n Number of Chinese students studying abroad (thousands) Stay rate of Chinese students (Per cent) – 100 James Nakagawa, a Canadian of Japanese origin and120 the founder of Mobile Healthcare, is a case in point. 90 A third-generation immigrant, he grew up in Canada 90 but decided in 1994 to move to Japan, where he 60 80 worked for a number of technology firms and set up his own financial-services consultancy. In 2000 he 30 had the idea that led him to found Mobile Healthcare, 70 0 when a friend was diagnosed with diabetes and Source: OECD 2008, UN, Chinese national statististics, McKinsey Co lamented that he found it difficult to determine which foods to eat, and which to avoid.become more likely to spend brief spells in othercountries that provide opportunities, rather than The rapid spread of advanced mobile phones inemigrating permanently. Japan, a world leader in mobile telecoms, prompted Mr Nakagawa to devise Lifewatcher, MobileAnd many entrepreneurs and innovators shuttle Healthcare’s main product. It is a “disease self-between two or more places — between Tel Aviv management system” used in conjunction with aand Silicon Valley, for example, or Silicon Valley doctor, based around a secure online database thatand Hsinchu in Taiwan — in a pattern of “circular” can be accessed via a mobile phone. Patients recordmigration, in which it is no longer meaningful to what medicines they are taking and what food theydistinguish between “sending” and “receiving” are eating, taking a picture of each meal. A databasecountries. of common foodstuffs, including menu items from restaurants and fast-food chains, helps users workThe benefits of a diaspora out what they can safely eat. Patients can also callMigration (whether temporary, permanent or up their medical records to follow the progress ofcircular) to a foreign country can be facilitated by key health indicators, such as blood sugar, bloodthe existence of a diaspora, since it can be easier to pressure, cholesterol levels and calorie intake.adjust to a new culture when you are surroundedby compatriots who have already done so. Some All of this information can also be accessed onlineobservers worry that diasporas make migration too by the patient’s doctor or nutritionist. The systemeasy, in the sense that they may encourage a larger allows people with diabetes or obesity (both ofnumber of talented individuals to leave their home which are rapidly becoming more prevalent in Japancountry than would otherwise be the case, to the and elsewhere) to take an active role in managingdetriment of that country. their conditions. Mr Nakagawa did three months of research in the United States and Canada whileBut as with the broader debate about migration, developing Lifewatcher, which was created withthis turns out to be only part of the story. Diasporas support from Apple (which helped with hardwarecan have a powerful positive effect in promoting and software), the Japanese Red Cross and Japan’sinnovation and benefiting the home country. Large Ministry of Health and Welfare (which provided fullAmerican technology firms, for example, have set up access to its nutritional database).research centres in India in part because they havebeen impressed by the calibre of the migrant Indian Japanese patients who are enrolled in the system haveengineers they have employed in America. Diasporas 70% of the cost covered by their health insurance. Mr10 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  11. 11. Nakagawa is now working to introduce Lifewatcher Mr Chin has thus tuned an existing business modelin the United States and Canada, where obesity and to take account of the cultural and regulatorydiabetes are also becoming more widespread — environment in China, where P2P lending couldalong advanced mobile phones of the kind once only be particularly attractive, given the relativelyfound in Japan. Mr Nakagawa’s ability to move freely undeveloped state of China’s financial-servicesbetween Japanese and North American cultures, market. In a sense, Qifang is just an updated, onlinecombining the telecoms expertise of the former version of the community group-lending schemeswith the entrepreneurial approach of the latter, has that are commonly used to finance education inresulted in a system that can benefit both. China. The company’s motto is that “everyone should be able to get an education, no matter theirThe story of Calvin Chin, the Chinese-American financial means”.founder of Qifang, is similar. Mr Chin was born andeducated in America, and worked in the financial- Just as Mr Chin is trying to use knowledge acquiredservices and technology industries for several years in the developed world to help people in his motherbefore moving to China. Expatriate Chinese who country of China, Sachin Duggal hopes his company,return to the country, enticed by opportunities in Nivio, will do something similar for people in India. Mrits fast-growing economy, are known as “returning Duggal was born in Britain and is of Indian extraction.turtles”. Qifang is a “peer to peer” (P2P) lending site He worked in financial services, including a stintthat enables students to borrow money to finance as a technologist at Deutsche Bank, before settingtheir education from other users of the site. up Nivio, which essentially provides a PC desktop, personalised with a user’s software and documents,P2P lending has been pioneered in other countries that can be accessed from any web browser.by sites such as Zopa and Prosper in other countries.Such sites require would-be borrowers to provide This approach makes it possible to centralise thea range of personal details about themselves to management of PCs in a large company, and is already popular in the businessBosses who had lived abroad and returned world. But Mr Duggal hopes that it will also make computing moreto India made far more use of diaspora links accessible to people who find theupon their return than entrepreneurs who prospect of owning and managing their own PCs (and dealing withhad never lived abroad. spam and viruses) too daunting, or simply cannot afford a PC atreassure lenders, and perform credit checks on them. all. Nivio’s software was developed in India, whereBorrowers pay above-market rates, which is what Mr Duggal teamed up with Iqbal Gandham, theattracts lenders. Qifang adds several twists to this founder of Net4India, one of India’s first internet-formula. It is concentrating solely on student loans, service providers. Mr Duggal believes that thewhich means that regulators are more likely to look “virtual webtop” model could have great potential infavourably on the company’s unusual business model. extending access to computers to rural parts of India,It allows payments to be made directly to educational and thus spreading the opportunities associated withinstitutions, to make sure the money goes to the the country’s high-tech boom.right place. Qifang also requires borrowers to givetheir parents’ names when taking out a loan, which A survey of the bosses of Indian software firmsincreases the social pressure on them not to default, clearly shows how diasporas can promote innovation.since that would cause the family to lose face. It found that those bosses who had lived abroadTalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 11
  12. 12. and returned to India made far more use of diaspora The role of large companies in nurturing talentedlinks upon their return than entrepreneurs who had individuals, who then leave to set up their ownnever lived abroad, which gave them access to capital companies, is widely understood in Silicon Valley.and skills in other countries. Diasporas can, in other Start-ups are often founded by alumni from Sun,words, help to ensure that “brain drain” does indeed HP, Oracle and other big names. Rather thanturn into “brain gain”, provided the government of worrying that they could be raising their own futurethe country in question puts appropriate policies competitors, large companies understand that thein place to facilitate the movement of people, resulting dynamic, innovative environment benefitstechnology and capital. everyone, as large firms spawn, compete with and acquire smaller ones.Making the connectionMultinational companies can also play an important As large firms establish outposts in developingrole in providing new opportunities for talented countries, such catalysis of innovation is becomingindividuals, and facilitating the transfer of skills. In more widespread. Companies with large numbers ofrecent years many technology companies have set employees and former employees spread around theup large operations in India, for example, in order to world can function rather like a corporate diaspora,benefit from the availability of talented engineers in short, providing another form of network alongand the services provided by local companies. Is this which skills and technology can diffuse. The networksimply exploitation of low-paid workers by Western that has had the greatest impact on spreadingcompanies? ideas, promoting innovation and allowing potential partners to find out about each other’s research is,The example of JiGrahak Mobility Solutions, a of course, the internet. As access to the internetstart-up based in Bangalore, illustrates why it is becomes more widespread, it can allow developingnot. The company was founded by Sourabh countries to link up more closely with developedJain, an engineering graduate from the Delhi countries, as the rise of India’s software industryInstitute of Technology. After completing his illustrates. But it can also promote links betweenstudies he went to work for the Indian research developing countries.arm of Lucent Technologies, an Americantelecoms-equipment firm. This gave him a The Cows to Kilowatts Partnership, based insolid grounding in mobile-phone technology, Nigera, provides an unusual example. It waswhich subsequently enabled him to set up founded by Joseph Adelagan, a NigerianJiGrahak, a company that provides a mobile- engineer, who was concerned about thecommerce service called Ngpay. In India, impact on local rivers of effluent fromwhere many people first experience the Bodija Market abbatoir in Ibadan.the internet on a mobile phone, As well as the polluting the waterrather than a PC, and where mobile- supply of several nearby villages,phones are far more widespread the effluent carried animalthan PCs, there is much potential diseases that could be passedfor phone-based shopping and to humans. Dr Adelaganpayment services. Ngpay lets proposed setting up anusers buy tickets, pay bills and effluent-treatment plant.transfer money using their handsets. Such He discovered, however, that althoughis its popularity that with months of its treating the effluent would reducelaunch in 2008, Ngpay accounted for 4% of water pollution, the process wouldticket sales at Fame, an Indian cinema chain. produce carbon-dioxide and methane12 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  13. 13. emissions that contribute to climate change. So he are “fast tracked” for individuals working in sciencebegan to look for ways to capture these gases and and technology. But there is still scope to removemake use of them. Researching the subject online, barriers to the mobility of talent. Mobility of skilledhe found that a research institution in Thailand, the workers increasingly involves short stays, ratherCentre for Waste Utilisation and Management at King than permanent moves, but this is not yet widelyMongkut University of Technology Thonburi, had reflected in immigration policy. Removing barriers todeveloped anaerobic reactors that could transform short-term stays can increase “brain circulation” andagroindustrial waste into biogas. He made contact promote diaspora links.with the Thai researchers, and togetherthey developed a version of the technology The Global competition for talentsuitable for use in Nigeria that turns theabbatoir waste into clean household cooking is not a zero-sum game in whichgas and organic fertiliser, thus reducing the some countries win and others loseneed for expensive chemical fertiliser. Thesame approach could be applied across Africa, Dr Another problem for many skilled workers is thatAdelagan believes. The Cows to Kilowatts project their qualifications are not always recognised inillustrates the global nature of modern innovation, other countries. Greater harmonisation of standardsfacilitated by the free movement of both ideas and for qualifications is one way to tackle this problem;people. Thanks to the internet, people in one part of some countries also have formal systems to evaluatethe world can easily make contact with people trying foreign qualifications and determine their localto solve similar problems elsewhere. equivalents. Countries must also provide an open and flexible business environment to ensure thatLessons learned promising innovations can be brought to market.What policies should governments adopt in If market access or financial backing are notorder to develop and attract innovation talent, available, after all, today’s global-trotting innovatorsencourage its movement and benefit from its increasingly have the option of going elsewhere.circulation? At the most basic level, investment ineducation is vital. Perhaps surprisingly, however, The most important point is that the globalAmar Bhidé of Columbia University suggests that competition for talent is not a zero-sum game inpromoting innovation does not mean pushing as which some countries win, and others lose. As themany students as possible into technical subjects. Technology Pioneers described here demonstrate,Although researchers and technologists provide the nature of innovation, and the global movementthe raw material for innovation, he points out, of talent and ideas, is far more complicated thata crucial role in orchestrating innovation is also the simplistic notion of a “talent war” betweenplayed by entrepreneurs who may not have a developed and developing nations would suggest.technical background. So it is important to promote Innovation is a global activity, and granting thea mixture of skills. A strong education system also greatest possible freedom to innovators can help tohas the potential to attract skilled foreign students, ensure that the ideas they generate will benefit theacademics and researchers, and gives foreign greatest possible number of people.companies an incentive to establish nearby researchand development operations. References “The Global Competition for Talent:Many countries already offer research grants, Mobility of the Highly Skilled”. OECD, 2008.scholarships and tax benefits to attract talented Bhidé, Amar. “The Venturesome Economy”.immigrants. In many cases immigration procedures Princeton University Press, 2008.Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 13
  14. 14. Technology Pioneers 2009 Contents Thirty-four companies have been chosen as Technology Pioneers in 2009. They come from three categories:biotechnology and health, energy/environmental biotechnology/HEALTH technology and information technology. Candidates are AC Immune 15 nominated by members, constituents and collaborators of the Alnylam Pharmaceuticals 15 World Economic Forum. Candidates are reviewed by an external BioMedica Diagnostics 16 Selection Advisory Committee (see page 34) comprising Intercell 16 technology experts in a variety of fields; the World Economic Mobile Healthcare 17 Forum takes the final decision. The Pioneers are chosen on the MorphoSys 17 basis of six selection criteria: Phase Forward 18 Proteus Biomedical 18 Innovation The company must be truly innovative. A new version or repackaging of an already well-accepted technological ENERGY/ENVIRONMENTAL solution does not qualify as an innovation. The innovation and TECHNOLOGY commercialisation should be recent. The company should invest BrightSource Energy 19 significantly in RD. Cows to Kilowatts Partnership 19 Current Group 20 Potential impact The company must have the potential to have GreenPeak Technologies 20 a substantial long-term impact on business and society. Lemnis Lighting 21 NovaTorque 21 Growth and sustainability The company should have all the RECYCLA Chile 22 signs of a long-term market leader and should have well- RecycleBank 22 formulated plans for future development and growth. SemiLEDs Corporation 23 Virent Energy Systems 23 Proof of concept The company must have a product on the ZPower 24 market or have proven practical applications of the technology. Companies in “stealth” mode and those with untested ideas or INFORMATION models do not qualify. TECHNOLOGY Advanced Track Trace 24 Leadership The company must have visionary leadership that Brightcove 25 plays a critical role in driving it towards its goals. Etsy 25 Gameforge 26 Status The company must not currently be a Member of the JiGrahak Mobility Solutions 26 World Economic Forum. Mint.com 27 Mojix 27 mPedigree 28 Nivio 28 Qifang 29 Slide 29 SpinVox 30 Tideway Systems 30 TraceTracker Innovation 31 Ubiquisys 3114 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  15. 15. biotechnology/health biotechnology/healthAC Immune Alnylam PharmaceuticalsAndrea Pfeifer, CEO John Maraganore, CEOLOCATION Lausanne, Switzerland LOCATION Massachusetts, USANUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 30 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 145YEAR FOUNDED 2003 YEAR FOUNDED 2002ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-up ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upAlzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest health RNA interference, or RNAi, is a natural cellularfears of an ageing population, affecting more than process that selectively switches off a gene’s activity26 million people worldwide. It is also one of the key by targeting RNA, the key chemical between DNAfocal points for AC Immune, a start-up firm that is and proteins. By harnessing this process, Alnylamdeveloping new therapies to treat diseases of the Pharmaceuticals is developing drugs that cancentral nervous system (CNS) such as Alzheimer’s. selectively suppress certain proteins in genes that play a harmful role in disease.The disease is a progressive condition, affecting thebrain and nervous system, which manifests in a slow Alnylam was an early leader in uncovering howand insidious onset of debilitating symptoms. It is RNAi works, and the company’s subsequentcaused by mutation (or “conformation”—a change research and collaborative projects delve into manyin structure) of a specific protein in the brain. By important areas of medicine. Alnylam runs its owndeveloping two technology platforms from which drug discovery programme, and is midway throughto develop therapies, AC Immune hopes to study human clinical trials with a treatment for respiratoryand treat Alzheimer’s. The company’s drug pipeline syncytial virus (RSV), one of the leading causesconsists of three products, all of which will be in of respiratory tract infection. It is also developingclinical trials in 2009, which have the potential to treatments for liver cancer, high cholesterol, TTRcreate a cure for this devastating disease. amyloidosis, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, progressive multifocal leukoencephalophy,CEO Andrea Pfeifer, formerly a research scientist, inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritistoxicologist and director of the Nestlé Research and inflammatory bowel disease.Centre in Switzerland, had personal experienceof losing family and colleagues to cancer, which The company has also formed spin-offs andspurred her to form AC Immune. In late 2006, AC joint ventures in fields such as biodefence andImmune formed a multi-year licensing deal with US microRNA therapeutics. Meanwhile, high-poweredbiotechnology company Genentech to collaborate partnerships with pharmaceutical giants Rochein developing anti-beta-amyloid antibodies for and Takeda are putting muscle behind Alnylam’sAlzheimer’s and other diseases. technology in areas like metabolic and liver diseases and cancer.Why the company is a pioneerOne of the difficulties in treating CNS diseases of the Why the company is a pioneerclass that includes Alzheimer’s has been that because The significance of RNAi was emphasised in 2006,the brain protein is not foreign to the body, it does when the two US researchers who first describednot elicit an immune reaction from the body when it it were awarded the Nobel Prize. Alnylam saw thebegins to change. AC Immune’s first antigen platform potential for RNAi early and secured key patents,technology allows the body to break its immune technology, knowledge and partnerships that shouldtolerance to “self” proteins. The company’s second keep it at the cutting edge of research and drugplatform uses chemistry to create drugs capable of development in this field.targeting and modifying the conformational state oftargeted proteins to render them harmless.AC Immune Telephone: +41 21 693 91 21 Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Telephone: +1 617 551 8200PSE Building B - EPFL Facsimile: +41 21 693 91 20 300 Third Street, 3rd Floor Facsimile: +1 617 551 81011015 Lausanne www.acimmune.com Cambridge, MA 02142 www.alnylam.comSwitzerland USATalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 15
  16. 16. biotechnology/health biotechnology/healthBioMedica Diagnostics IntercellAbdullah Kirumira, founder and CEO Gerd Zettlmeissl, CEOLOCATION Nova Scotia, Canada LOCATION Vienna, AustriaNUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 22 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 388YEAR FOUNDED 1999 YEAR FOUNDED 1998ORIGINS University research spin-off ORIGINS Spin-off from the Campus Vienna BiocenterUp to 50% of clinical diagnoses made by doctors One of the most significant unmet medical needs,in Africa are inaccurate, mostly because of a lack globally, is for the development and supply of newof basic lab support. According to BioMedica vaccines. As with all medicines, development costsDiagnostics’ founder, Ugandan-born Dr Abdullah are high, and because many vaccines are intended forKirumira, this lack of affordable diagnostics is a developing markets, profit margins can be minimal.missing link in Africa’s healthcare system. Bucking this accepted wisdom, Intercell has set itsBioMedica’s vision was to devise a way to provide sights on the development of new vaccines andbasic medical diagnostics to the developing world, treatments for infectious diseases, particularly thosefunded by the sale of its diagnostic reagents in for which specific medicine is not currently available.better-off healthcare systems in Europe, the Its main product is a preventative vaccine againstUS, Japan and China. With this financial model, Japanese encephalitis. It successfully concludedthe company is able to supply portable, low- clinical trials in 2006, and at the time this reportmaintenance equipment that is robust for harsher went to press, the vaccine was awaiting regulatoryenvironments, which helps cut testing costs and approval in the US, Europe, Australia and Canada.delivers a fast return on investment. BioMedica’s laband mobile medical products provide blood tests for Meanwhile, the company’s development pipelinecardiovascular risk, haematology blood cell counts, includes several new vaccines and prophylactics,common immunodiagnostics and serology for including a patch for travellers’ diarrhoea, whichinfectious diseases, fertility testing, drugs of abuse, is due to go into late-stage clinical trials. Intercellcardiac disease and cancer markers, and urinalysis is also leading the charge in developing vaccinesand diabetes management products. for hospital-acquired “superbugs”, including Staphylococcus aureus, and is developing vaccinesThe equipment and products are widely used in for pandemic influenza and Pseudomonas, alocations ranging from small to medium-sized bacterium that can cause chronic infections. Basedhospitals and physicians’ office laboratories to on its technologies, Intercell has formed strategicmilitary field hospitals, rural and remote clinics and partnerships with a number of global pharmaceuticalUnited Nations programmes, as well as training companies, including Novartis, Merck Co, Wyeth,institutes. Sanofi Pasteur and Kirin.Why the company is a pioneer Why the company is a pioneerBioMedica uses its biotechnology capabilities to With its three technology platforms, Intercell iscreate a link between the medical diagnostic needs positioned as one of the most innovative vaccineof affluent communities and the basic healthcare companies worldwide. The company’s antigenneeds of the developing world. By introducing identification programme and needle-free patchaffordable diagnostics at all district-level hospitals delivery vaccine technology provide potentialin Africa, BioMedica believes it can help reduce future alternatives to current injected vaccines.unnecessary mortality and morbidity by up to 30%. The company’s work in influenza, tuberculosis and hospital-acquired infection vaccines may also prove to be vitally important.BioMedica Diagnostics Telephone: +1 902 798 5105. Intercell Telephone: +43 1 20620 094 Wentworth Road Facsimile: +1 902 798 1025. Campus Vienna Biocenter 3 Facsimile: +43 1 20620 800Windsor, Nova Scotia www.biomedicadiagnostics.com 1030 Vienna www.intercell.comCanada Austria16 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  17. 17. biotechnology/health biotechnology/healthMobile Healthcare MorphoSysJames Hiroshi Nakagawa, founder and CEO Simon E Moroney, CEOLOCATION Tokyo, Japan LOCATION Martinsried (near Munich), GermanyNUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 7 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 330YEAR FOUNDED 2003 YEAR FOUNDED 1992ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-up ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upWhen a friend was diagnosed with diabetes a few Antibodies, which are found in the blood andyears ago, James Nakagawa was horrified by the bodily fluids of humans and animals, are used bydifficulty and amount of time taken to obtain basic the immune system to identify harmful bacteriainformation, such as the number of calories in a and viruses, and then eliminate them. MorphoSys’hamburger. This sparked the idea for Lifewatcher—a focus is on human antibodies and the company hassystem which, while monitoring patients’ vital signs, developed a library of them for use in developingalso allows users to search and obtain nutritional new drugs and treatment for diseases. MorphoSys’information on foods ranging from standard patented HuCAL (Human Combinatorial Antibodysupermarket fare to haute cuisine. Library) contains more than 12 billion different fully-human antibodies, and allows quick andLifewatcher is a converged internet and mobile automated production of antibodies for researchersphone-based health management application for and companies to use. Its strength lies in the fact thatpeople with so-called lifestyle diseases such as antibodies produced by HuCAL are pre-programmeddiabetes and obesity. It allows users to monitor their for specific diseases, so treatments derived from themcondition by logging blood sugar levels, calorie can be more effective and specifically targeted.intake, exercise and other variables, and then createsan at-a-glance health portfolio that collates daily, MorphoSys operates on two levels. As well asmonthly and even yearly data. It also delivers vital delivering high-quality antibodies to the researchmedical information, reminders and alerts with market, it also develops drug candidates for itselfgradually escalating alarm levels if goals are not met. and the company’s commercial partners—globalUsers can be in a constant dialogue with medical pharmaceutical and biotech companies, includingpractitioners to ensure things are running smoothly Centocor/Johnson Johnson, Daiichi-Sankyo,or, if not, to spark intervention that could save a life. Schering-Plough, Merck Co, Novartis, Pfizer and Roche.Lifewatcher has more than 3,000 users and is backedby healthcare and corporate sponsors, among them Why the company is a pioneerMicrosoft HealthVault, The Independent Physicians Antibodies derived from mice, the most commonlyAssociation of America (TIPAAA) and Yahoo! Japan. used in medical research, are of limited use asThe US Army will conduct a clinical trial of the system. therapeutic agents—the human immune system often registers them as foreign and triggers aWhy the company is a pioneer defence reaction. By developing a way to generateWith diabetes and obesity conditions on the increase, fully human and highly specialised humanand mobile phone penetration almost universal in antibodies in vitro, MorphoSys has helped tomany developed countries, it makes sense to bring stretch the boundaries of what can be done in drugthe two together. Hailed as a world first in mobile development.self-disease management, Lifewatcher is an easy-to-use, intelligent system that is seamlessly incorporatedinto most people’s lifestyle, giving users more controlover their own health.Mobile Healthcare Telephone: +81 3 5375 3921 (English) MorphoSys Telephone: +49 89 899 27 079-2-407 Shimizucho Telephone: +81 3 5375 3922 (Japanese) Lena-Christ-Straße 48 Facsimile: +49 89 899 27 222Itabashiku, Tokyo 174-0053 www.lifewatcher.com 82152 Planegg www.morphosys.comJapan GermanyTalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 17
  18. 18. biotechnology/health biotechnology/healthPhase Forward Proteus BiomedicalRobert Weiler, chairman, president and CEO Andrew Thompson, CEOLOCATION Massachusetts, USA LOCATION California, USANUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 698 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 65YEAR FOUNDED 1997 YEAR FOUNDED 2001ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-up ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upDrug development generates a huge amount of Intelligent medicine—where proven drugsdata, especially when a drug reaches clinical trials. and devices work together with widely usedManaging that data, and harnessing it to prove to communication devices to deliver personalisedregulators that a drug works safely, has long been treatment—is one of the holy grails of healthcare.one of the biggest headaches for pharmaceutical and In recent years, with new technology developments,biotech firms. companies such as Proteus Biomedical have started providing the tools to help achieve that goal.Phase Forward’s technology sits on the cusp betweenIT and life science research. The company provides Proteus’ expertise is in combining high precisionsoftware for electronic management of clinical trial process technologies, known as MEMS, withand drug safety data, and a host of complementary integrated circuit design to produce tiny medicalservices to support best practices and regulatory systems designed for integration in existing productscompliance. The company’s products are scalable, used inside the human body. Proteus uses batchand ultimately are designed to provide end-to-end fabrication techniques similar to those employed formanagement of clinical trials to achieve regulatory integrated circuits, which means that a sophisticated,approval and assist in post-marketing analysis. reliable medical technology can be placed on a small silicon chip at a relatively low cost.Phase Forward’s flagship technology is anelectronic data capture system, InForm, which has Proteus’ two innovative technologies, ChipSkin andfundamentally transformed the way clinical data Raisin, have transformed and improved the wayare collected, analysed and managed. So far, the conventional treatments work. Implanted medicalfirm’s services and technology, which are suited devices and diagnostics are subject to erosion byto life science companies of all stripes and sizes, bodily fluids, but ChipSkin—a thin and durablehas been used in more than 10,000 clinical trials, protective layer—can ensure long-term survival ofinvolving more than a million trial study participants devices only 1mm in diameter. The company’s Raisinat pharmaceutical and biotech companies, medical system, for heart patients and others, involves chipsdevice firms, regulatory agencies and public health made from common vitamins inserted in medication,organisations. which monitor its uptake in the body. The system thus takes the burden off patients and medicalWhy the company is a pioneer practitioners, and allows for precise tracking.Standardised data collection and managementthat can be easily accessed by pharmaceutical, Why the company is a pioneerbiotechnology and medical device companies and So far, the world has only seen the tip of the icebergcontract research organisations, as well as the all- in applications for intelligent medicine. Proteus isimportant regulators, is critical for the development focusing on embedding its technologies in provenof new, safer, more effective medicines. Phase therapies for conditions including cardiovascular andForward also allows its clients to track and monitor respiratory diseases, metabolic and central nervousproduct efficacy and safety, as well as design more system disorders and oncology. The company hasefficient and cost-effective clinical trials. partnerships with global leaders in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and mobile phone technology.Phase Forward Telephone: +1 888 703 1122 Proteus Biomedical Telephone: +1 650 632 4031880 Winter Street Facsimile: +1 781 890 4848 2600 Bridge Parkway, Suite 101 Facsimile: +1 650 632 4071Waltham, MA 02451 www.phaseforward.com Redwood City, CA 94065 www.proteus.bzUSA USA18 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  19. 19. energy/environmental technology energy/environmental technologyBrightSource Energy Cows to Kilowatts PartnershipJohn Woolard, CEO Dr Joseph Adelegan, co-founder and CEOLOCATION California, USA LOCATION Ibadan, NigeriaNUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 130 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 13YEAR FOUNDED 2004 YEAR FOUNDED 2006ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-up ORIGINS Alliance of NGOs, research institutes and organisationsThe price of solar energy is falling as worldwide The Cows to Kilowatts Partnership, which starteddemand for alternative energy sources drives life in Ibadan, Nigeria’s second-largest city, iscommercial developments in the field. Converting transforming noxious abattoir waste into low-costsunlight to produce steam, which is then used to household cooking gas, as well as fertiliser forgenerate electricity, is one approach that is proving struggling farmers.an attractive alternative to traditional fossil fuels. The abattoir in Ibadan slaughters two-thirds ofBrightSource Energy’s Luz Power Tower (LPT) the animals in Nigeria’s Oyo state, and is a majortechnology uses thousands of small mirrors, known source of local water pollution and greenhouse gasas heliostats, to harness the power of the sun. The emissions. Unlike most of the developed world,mirrors project sunlight onto a modified boiler to specific regulations for abattoirs do not exist in manyproduce high-temperature steam, which is then developing countries, and if they do they are seldompiped to a conventional turbine to produce electricity. enforced.BrightSource is currently building LPT systems thatwill allow power companies in the US to reduce In 2001 Dr Joseph Adelegan, a Nigerian engineer andtheir dependency on fossil fuels. According to founder of the Global Network for EnvironmentalBrightSource, each mirror produces enough energy and Economic Development Research, recognisedto power an average home, and if less than 2% of that the abattoir’s operations could unfold intothe surface of California’s 130,000 square kilometre an environmental and human disaster. As a resultMojave Desert was to be used by LPT plants, enough of his research, the network joined forces with aenergy would be produced to power homes across the number of local and international groups to addressstate and reduce CO2 emissions by 30 million tonnes the problem. After a handful of false starts, theyper year. identified a technology which had been developed by a Thai research institute. With some re-engineering,BrightSource is in experienced hands. Co-founder this technology could transform slaughterhouseArnold Goldman developed the first solar power waste into clean household cooking gas, and, as anstations in California between 1984 and 1990. added bonus, into organic fertiliser.Why the company is a pioneer Why the company is a pioneerUnlike many solar power systems, which use large Construction of the Cows to Kilowatts biogas plant,expensive mirrors, LPT mirrors are relatively small, which will be one of the biggest in Africa, began ineasy to manufacture and simpler to install than 2007. With an estimated life span of 15 years, it isparabolic mirrors used in solar troughs. Furthermore, designed to be commercially viable and is expectedthese heliostats are on motorised bases, allowing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from thethem to track the sun in two dimensions, maximising slaughterhouse by more than 22,300 tonnes of CO2energy capture throughout the day. The company has per year. Not only has Cows to Kilowatts solved athe largest solar power agreement ever made under potentially disastrous problem, it has also createdits belt and is actively developing new projects that opportunities that could be replicated elsewhere incould power more than 1.4 million homes in south- the developing world.western US.BrightSource Energy Telephone: +1 510 550 8161 Cows to Kilowatts Partnership Telephone: +234 806 284 34281999 Harrison Street, Suite 2150 Facsimile: +1 510 550 8165 16, Ladoke Akintola Avenue, Facsimile: +234 2 810 6202Oakland, CA 94612 www.brightsourceenergy.com New Bodija Estate www.c2k.orgUSA Ibadan, Oyo State, NigeriaTalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 19
  20. 20. energy/environmental technology energy/environmental technologyCurrent Group GreenPeak TechnologiesThomas J Casey, CEO Cees Links, founder and CEOLOCATION Maryland, USA LOCATION Utrecht, The NetherlandsNUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 200 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 40YEAR FOUNDED 2000 YEAR FOUNDED 2005ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-up ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upPower grids around the world are ageing and require Inadvertently leaving the lights on is not only costly,a radical overhaul if they are to meet rising demand but flies in the face of growing awareness that energyfor energy. In the meantime, as electricity generation is a precious resource.produces more than 40 per cent of CO2 emissions, itis unsurprising that governments are stepping up the Start-ups like GreenPeak Technologies are addressingpressure on energy firms. this challenge by building low-power wireless sensor networks to improve energy efficiency.Current Group has set its sights on becoming part of They are designed to be used in a range of lightingthis broader global push to make ageing electricity applications, as well as heating, ventilation and airdelivery grids more efficient and environmentally conditioning control and access control systems.friendly. Smarter electricity grids not only cut Going a step further, the system could have potentialconsumption, and therefore costs, but could also in remote monitoring of agriculture and forestinghelp to reduce CO2 emissions in the US by as much projects, or large area building structures such asas 25 per cent by 2020. With this in mind, Current dams, pipelines and bridges.developed its Smart Grid electricity transmission anddistribution network, which relies on robust two-way The adoption of low-power wireless energy sensorcommunications, advanced sensors and distributed networks has been made possible by the arrival of acomputers to increase the efficiency and reliability of new standard, known as ZigBee, which makes it easierpower delivery. to integrate them into the networking environment. It also means that wires are no longer needed toJust as telemetry systems monitor the performance pass information from the sensor to the controller,of engine, car and driver in Formula One racing, while power connections and batteries becomeCurrent’s IP-based system transforms the electricity a thing of the past too. Instead, the sensors andgrid from a mere conduit to an intelligent adaptive communication nodes are now powered by so-calledsystem able to collect and distil vast amounts of energy harvesting, the process of capturing energydata from the network. The principle has many from a variety of existing sources such as solar power,advantages, not least an ability to manage the thermal, wind or kinetic energy.demand and supply of electricity in real time. Why the company is a pioneerWhy the company is a pioneer It is one thing to install a wireless system, but quiteCompanies like Current bring the power of the another to keep batteries charged with minimalinternet to transmission, distribution and use of hassle. Unlike many other wireless networks, such aselectricity. Many alternative technologies often Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, wireless energy sensor networksmanage a limited number of components on the like GreenPeak’s solve the ongoing challenge ofelectric distribution system. Current says its offering maintenance. Energy-efficient and battery-free,acts as an infrastructure for utilities to monitor they could become central to energy control andand control millions of devices in the electricity increased energy efficiency, in both new builds anddistribution grid. The technology is already being renovations—as well as a money-saver for peopleused on four continents, by some of the world’s who cannot remember to switch off the lights.largest utility companies.Current Group Telephone: +1 301 944 2700 GreenPeak Technologies Telephone: +31 30 262 115720420 Century Blvd Facsimile: +1 301 944 2711 Catharijnesingel 30 - 3511 GB Facsimile: +31 30 262 1159Germantown, MD 20874 www.currentgroup.com Utrecht www.greenpeak.comUSA The Netherlands20 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009
  21. 21. energy/environmental technology energy/environmental technologyLemnis Lighting NovaTorqueWarner Philips and Frans Otten, co-founders John Petro, founder and presidentLOCATION Den Bosch, The Netherlands and LOCATION California, USACalifornia, USA NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 15NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 15 YEAR FOUNDED 2005YEAR FOUNDED 2005 ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upIf your great-grandfather was the founder of Electric motors convert electrical energy intoelectrical giant Philips, and you want to specialise in mechanical energy to drive everything fromlighting, you have a tough act to follow. But Warner refrigerators and washing machines to factoryPhilips, one of the founders of Lemnis Lighting, automation systems and industrial pumps. Theywould probably make his ancestor proud. consume as much as 50 per cent of the world’s generated electricity, so improving their efficiency isLemnis, which has sustainable lighting at the core an obvious way to reduce consumption.of its business plan, has developed commercialLEDs (light-emitting diodes) to work in mainstream NovaTorque has developed and patented a newdomestic and industrial applications. Although LEDs electric motor technology that makes small tohave been around since the 1970s, until now they medium-sized motors far more efficient. Key tohave only really been used for digital displays and the efficiency, performance and cost benefits ofspecialist niche lighting. NovaTorque’s motor technology is the design of a completely different internal structure whichOne advantage of LED bulbs is that they consume combines elements of traditional rotary and axialless energy than conventional bulbs. The Pharox light motors. The result is a motor which provides greaterbulbs produced by Lemnis look similar to conventional continuous torque, higher speeds and coolerincandescent bulbs, and produce as much warm white operation than conventional motors, according tolight as standard 40-60 Watt bulb. However, they NovaTorque, and which can be manufactured inlast for up to 50,000 hours and are as much as 90 per volume at a lower cost than comparable motors.cent more efficient. Furthermore, unlike low-energycompact fluorescent lamps, which contain mercury, The company says widespread adoption of itsLemnis’ bulbs do not produce toxic waste. technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over a billion tonnes per year with an energy costOther developments by Lemnis include outdoor saving of more than US$100 billion. Promising initiallighting based on mesopic light, which is considered applications for the NovaTorque motor include fans,the most effective kind of night-lighting. The pumps, compressors and conveyors.company’s outdoor lighting was developed toresonate with the behaviour of a human eye in the Why the company is a pioneerdark, resulting in superior vision. Electric motors were invented more than 100 years ago, but never before has there been such a need forWhy the company is a pioneer improvements in their energy efficiency. NovaTorqueGiven that around 20% of the world’s energy has risen to the challenge by creating an electricis currently used for lighting, making lighting motor that can significantly reduce consumers’more energy-efficient is a clear way to reduce electricity consumption and carbon footprint, whileenvironmental impact. Through its core LED also offering more output power than traditionaltechnology, Lemnis is already generating high- models.volume demand where the impact on the planet isclear and measurable.Lemnis Lighting Telephone: + 31 73 615 6370 NovaTorque Telephone: +1 916 331 8000Het Zuiderkruis 15, 5215 MV’s- Facsimile: + 31 73 615 6361 145 N. Wolfe Road Facsimile: +1 916 331 2263Hertogenbosch www.lemnislighting.com Sunnyvale, CA 94085 www.novatorque.comThe Netherlands USATalent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009 21
  22. 22. energy/environmental technology energy/environmental technologyRECYCLA Chile RecycleBankFernando Nilo, founder Ron Gonen, co-founder and CEOLOCATION Santiago, Chile LOCATION New York, USANUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 25 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 80YEAR FOUNDED 2003 YEAR FOUNDED 2004ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-up ORIGINS Entrepreneurial start-upRapid economic growth in Chile over the past two If getting consumers to recycle for the purelydecades, coupled with political apathy towards altruistic motive of saving the planet proves toowaste management, at one stage spelled a looming difficult, perhaps what is needed is an economicenvironmental disaster. Chile currently disposes of 15 incentive. This is the principle behind US-basedmillion mobile phones, 500,000 laptops and 300,000 RecycleBank, which applies a technology-printers every year. driven incentive scheme to the low-tech activity of collecting recyclable rubbish. Simply put,Chilean entrepreneur Fernando Nilo recognised the RecycleBank is a green rewards programme, wherebyproblem, and also a business opportunity. Supported households collect points for recycling which canby the Schwab Foundation, Nilo established then be redeemed for coupons for goods or servicesRECYCLA—the first company in Latin America to from more than 400 local and national retailers.recycle electronic waste. The company currently RecycleBank’s goal is to motivate all households torecycles 10% of this waste and is also involved in recycle, whether urban or suburban, rich or poor.more conventional recycling of non-ferrous metals. Itcollects unwanted consumer and industrial electronic One of the advantages of the scheme is that there isitems and then breaks them down into constituent little onus on householders to do much more thanparts. These are either reused or further processed sign up to the RecycleBank service. Participantsto create recyclable materials such as copper and dispose of their recyclable waste in the usualaluminium. Any non-recyclable elements such as way, except that their bin has been fitted with abatteries are disposed of in accredited hazardous radio frequency identification chip. On collection,waste treatment centres. the waste is weighed, the chip scanned and the information transferred wirelessly to RecycleBank’sAs part of its social responsibility ethos, the database. The weight of the recycled material is thencompany runs a rehabilitation project which trains converted into points on the household RecycleBankformer prison inmates to work in the recycling account. Users can check their points status online,plants. Wherever possible, the company refurbishes and RecycleBank provides further motivation bycomputers for use in charities which offer computer calculating how many trees have survived and howtraining for low-income groups. much oil has been saved as a result of users’ recycling habits.Why the company is a pioneerBeing the first on a continent to address the issue of Why the company is a pioneerelectronic waste is pioneering in itself, but RECYCLA’s RecycleBank has linked a proprietary softwaremodel also generates profits for shareholders, while system to existing hardware and coupled this withaddressing a worrying environmental issue in a an innovative marketing strategy to reward andsocially responsible way. RECYCLA’s next step will motivate households (a nice contrast from localbe to export its business model throughout South councils penalising those who don’t recycle). MostAmerica, while helping to ensure that its social municipalities that have deployed RecycleBank’sresponsibility ethos remains at the core. service have realised a 100% increase in their recycling rate.RECYCLA Chile Telephone: +56 2 580 36 36 RecycleBank Telephone: +1 888 727 2978Av del Valle 945 office 5607 Facsimile: +56 2 580 36 37 149 Fifth Ave, 4th Floor Facsimile: +1 212 504 8359Ciudad Empresarial Huechuraba, www.recycla.cl New York, NY 10010 www.recyclebank.comSantiago. Chile USA22 Talent for innovation | The World Economics Forum’s Technology Pioneers 2009