Pax Scientific

Posted on June 8, 2008  Comments (0)

Nature Gave Him a Blueprint, but Not Overnight Success

Mr. Harman is a practitioner of biomimicry, a growing movement of the industrial-design field. Eleven years ago, he established Pax Scientific to commercialize his ideas, thinking that it would take only a couple of years to convince companies that they could increase efficiency, lower noise or create entirely new categories of products by following his approach.

His radical ideas have so far found a cautious reception in the aircraft, air- conditioning, boating, pump and wind turbine industries. Mr. Harman’s experience is not unusual. Rather than beating a path to the door of mousetrap designers, the world seems to actively avoid them.

Even in fields such as the computer industry, which celebrates innovation, systemic change can be glacial.

In another hopeful sign, a world that long ignored energy efficiency is suddenly thinking of nothing else. “We tried for years to promote energy conservation, and we couldn’t find one who was interested,” he said. “Now the world has done a U-turn.”

Yet another example that new knowledge is not enough. It takes much longer for good ideas to be put into practice than seems reasonable (until you get your head around the idea it takes a fair amount of time for new ideas to be adopted).

One positive aspect of this reality is that if you can take advantage of new ideas before others you can gain an advantage. It isn’t necessarily true that just because now everyone knows about some new idea that you have no opportunity to use the knowledge before others.

Related: The Future is EngineeringEngineering the Boarding of AirplanesReduce Computer Waste100 Innovations for 2006Innovation at GoogleEducational Institutions Economic Impact

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