History teaches us a little-known lesson about innovation: Ideas don't matter. Good ideas languish all the time.
What matters? Execution. It's everything—especially, ironically enough, with breakthrough technologies. As the world embraces and demands advances in clean technologies, it’s time to look at what past technology revolutions teach us about the best ways to move clean technology innovations forward.
While policymakers in the United States might believe that innovation depends more on ideas than execution, history points to a different lesson. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu argued: "Our previous investments in science led to the birth of the semiconductor, computer, and bio-technology industries that have added greatly to our economic prosperity. Now, we need similar breakthroughs in energy." It was more than spending on science that turned those past ideas into breakthroughs. <<more>>