WDI Scholars Target Innovation, Healthcare

Monday, March 23, 2009

New initiatives target emerging markets, technologies, public policy.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The William Davidson Institute (WDI) recently announced two appointments to launch new research initiatives that address significant global issues: the effective commercialization of “green leap” technologies for sustainability and the effective delivery of healthcare.

Stuart Hart, the S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise and professor of management at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management, is director of WDI’s Green Leap Initiative (GLI). He will remain affiliated with Cornell but will be based in Ann Arbor and work part time for WDI.

David Canter is director of the Business of Healthcare Initiative at WDI. Prior to the appointment, Canter was a senior vice president in Pfizer Global Research and Development, and director of the Michigan Laboratories in Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo.

Making the Green Leap
Sustainable innovation has exploded in recent years, but most clean-tech startups focus on high-end “green” markets, says GLI’s Hart. Little attention has been paid to creative commercialization strategies or distribution models targeting the base of the economic pyramid.

Hart feels that underserved markets, where the infrastructure has not been built out, could be the ideal testing ground for “disruptive” clean technologies. (A new solar infrastructure, for instance, would disrupt the coal mining industry and coal-fired power plants.) Other disruptive technologies include biomaterials, biomimicry, wireless information technology, sustainable agriculture, nanotechnology, point-of-use water purification, and renewable energy.

“It’s difficult to bring these next-generation, potentially inherent clean technologies forward on a commercial basis in established marketplaces,” Hart says, noting that incumbent firms have a vested interest in keeping things as they are. “But it is possible to construct a new next-generation form of living and infrastructure from the beginning.”

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)