There is much to learn in the energy transition. Technical and social innovation are an important key to success. But, who owns this key? Is this the domain of large companies, who can create budget and time for personnel? Or is innovation for the young and independent?
I think that anyone can make a difference. Innovation does not come from organizations, it comes from people. When it comes to changing the game, it is up to you.
Two very different recent events have illustrated this for me.
Last month I found myself in the boardroom of the Amsterdam Medical Centre. This is a huge facility. A large hospital, combined with an attractive medical university. More than 7.000 people work here. The boardroom was filled with a select company of directors and board members, both from the AMC and the Amsterdam ArenA. Of course, these people were there because they have the authority to make decisions. But as the meeting progressed, it occurred to me that is was more important that these people, every single one, was highly creative in finding ways to make a difference. Together, they decided to start up a new project. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal much right now, because the idea is still too fresh. It will involve a new form for producing sustainable energy, a new way of financing, and a new way of sharing the energy in the urban district between the ArenA and AMC. I left the room with goosebumps.
Not much later I participated in the Rockstart Energy ‘demo day’. Rockstart is an ‘accelerator’ for startups. This is a program in which starting entrepreneurs are intensely coached, in a limited period of time, towards a successful business plan. This program was partially funded by our very own Amsterdam Investment Fund. I was blown away by the personal drive and the great ideas. Some examples: smart metering meets gamification, a second life for wind turbines, and an actual polar bear that saves energy by teaching your kids. These entrepeneurs were young and independent. Goosebumps all over again.
We need innovation to move on. And it is not companies that will make the difference. It is people. Best of all: it could be you.