“Save the Planet”. Now that’s an admiral goal. What’s next? “Save the solar system”? In all seriousness, inventions and innovations that reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions are worthy goals. But, just as the cleantech entrepreneur needs to address the laws of Physics they need to address the laws of the Market.
New technology adoption, in any market, must address fundamental forces to succeed. Cleantech, like every other market faces the classic S-Curve and Gaussian adoption curves. Both of these models address that fact that customers have implemented the current generation of technologies and solutions. They are familiar with them, they know how to manage them and they have paid for them.
The cleantech entrepreneur must develop, and articulate, a solution whose value proposition is so compelling that customers will risk, yes risk, the implementation of them. Very few, there are some, will implement a cleantech solution only to “save the planet”.
The entrepreneur must ask three basic questions:
- Can my target customer make money with my innovation?
- Can my target customer save money with my innovation?
- How easily can my target customers implement my innovation?
If the answer to both question 1 and question 2 is “NO”, then perhaps you should go back to the drawing board. If the answer to either of them is “YES”, the answer to question 3 will determine your strategic marketing plans and your target “innovators” and “early adopters” defined the Gaussian technology market adoption curve made popular by Geoffrey Moore. The larger the effort to implement your solution the more compelling the value proposition must be.