Innovation for an Energy-Hungry World
It’s official! Planet Earth is now home for some 7 billion people.
More elbow room might not be an issue. But what does confront all of us is creating a sustainable future for our world, as well as accelerating solutions to meet urgent challenges facing society.
NASA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State and NIKE have partnered to form LAUNCH – a unique approach that spotlights and supports inventive approaches to global challenges, be they in the arena of food, air, mobility, sustainable cities – as well as energy.
On November 11-12 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, LAUNCH: Energy Forum held a diverse and collaborative world-class “ecosystem” of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, scientists, engineers, and leaders in government, media and business.
Their collective private-public partnership mission: To help move a set of innovative technological solutions that can tackle future energy needs.
LAUNCH is a pioneering program that wants nothing less than to change the world, explains Victor Friedberg, Executive Director of the initiative. “We want to accelerate innovations into the marketplace with more impact and scale. What we are doing is moving the needle in a positive direction on a portfolio of innovations…and putting them on a trajectory toward success.”
At the heart of the KSC-held LAUNCH gathering is a review of 10 “game changing” innovations that have the potential to transform current energy systems, and help support a more sustainable future. Original ideas in energy generation; energy harvesting and storage; industrial and community applications; as well as financing, energy education and deployment into society of energy technologies are to be appraised.
“There are truly transformative innovations…but they need a chance to succeed in the market. Collectively, everybody feels that for global sustainability to become a global reality, you have to look at innovation differently. NASA and sustainability may not jump immediately to the forefront of the public mind. “But take a step back. NASA is a world-class organization in which innovation is core to everything that they do. They are a solutions culture. They take on massively complex problems and create solutions.”
Evidence of that fact is the International Space Station. “Nobody designs closed-loop systems better than NASA…because failure to do so is the difference between life and death for crew members.”
NASA is a global expert on closed-loop systems, Friedberg added. “They never treat anything as a waste product and recycle making use of innovative materials and technologies.”
For more information on the LAUNCH:Energy Forum and other LAUNCH activities go to:
LAUNCH Energy was huge success! We've had several connections already and are moving forward with the accelerator phase of our program where we expect even greater things to happen for our innovators. We'd like to share a few of the comments from some of those that participated in the LAUNCH Energy forum at the Kennedy Space Center which focused on the development of innovative products services and programs in the energy sector. As you can see, there was lots of excitement!
"This event is one of the best organized, well structured, impactful and FUN mentoring events I have participated in over the past couple of decades. I am looking forward to the Accelerator stage and the real results kicking in."
Rebecca Taylor, Senior Advisor, Entrepreneurship, Office of the Science & Technology Adviser to the Secretary
"Thank you all for the opportunity to serve! I had a blast (I know I have said it 100 times now)... the event, start to finish, was an unbelievably fun and amazing experience. I loved every second of it and can not wait to help out again..."
Nagesh Rao, OnGreen
"I have to second Nagesh’s comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and found the venue and presentation amazing."
Jigar Shah, CarbonWarRoom
“Many conferences give coaching to the companies that will present at the conferences. The difference between that coaching and the mentoring at Launch is threefold: First, The Launch core team is amazingly diverse, representing NASA, USAID, the State Department, enterpreneurs and sustainable business experts. They have a perspective that’s just fundamentally different from “ordinary” investors who screen hundreds of startup companies a year. The LAUNCH team are not blasé, they are committed to making the Innovators into Successes, and they know what makes a real impact on human and not just profits. Second, the LAUNCH team coached us how to tell a compelling human story, not just a business case. And as one famous investor recently said, you need the audience to love you before they will consider investing in you, LAUNCH helps you get the love! Third, the LAUNCH Council meetings include detailed documentation and follow-up of all the comments, suggestions and promises made during the extensive discussions, so it’s a lot more likely that they will come to pass. Love is great, but documented commitments are compelling. This program gives value to the innovator that is really unsurpassed among any business plan contests I know of."
Burt Hamner, Hydrovolts, Inc.
“It was fantastic to meet and work with all of you! I hope we can stay in touch and find ways to LIFT OFF together."
Jamie Simon, Powerzoa
"Boom" is going to be the next big buzzword for a while now! A loud Cheer from us at Gram Power to the Launch team for making this such a great success. It was one of the best weekends for us ever and Saturn 5 dinner was the pinnacle! Thanks a lot for the amazing opportunity and I'm really looking forward to the accelerator program!"
Yashraj Khaitan, Gram Power
"Dear LAUNCH Team, Energy Council Members, and our top ten Energy Innovators,
Thank you so very much for working so wonderfully united together as a great family to make this event INSTANTLY SUPER CHARGED and BOOM lift off !!...., and accelerate into our every successes ahead :-).
Congratulation to everyone, and absolutely a fun time at Kennedy Space Center and successful event we had. Again, thank-you all, and hope see some of our team members real soon."
Frank Wang, NanoTune Technologies
"It was pleasure meeting you all last week in Orlando, and looking forward to staying connected in future. I would like to congratulate and thank LAUNCH team for hosting a very successful event. Below is my contact details, let me know if I can be of any help to all the “Innovators”. You can connect with me on LinkedIn (see below), I have an extensive contact in the “Cleantech” space and I will be more than happy to make connection to my contacts on LinkedIn."
Ashutosh Misra, ITN Energy Systems Inc.
I presented on a NASA podium and had dinner under Saturn V rocket - with 60 amazing people helping us realize our dream!
An Energy Forum Innovator
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