Accelerating Innovation in Energy:  Insights from Multiple Sectors


As the Internet diffused throughout the 1990s, it touched a wide breadth of economic activities. The diffusion transformed the use of information technology throughout the economy. It led to improvements in products, lower prices, the development of new capabilities, and the development of many innovations that enabled productivity improvements among business users. It diffused to the majority of homes and businesses, altering the way people shop, research, play, and relate socially. The Internet began as a government sponsored operation in the 1970s and 1980s and grew into a commercial industry in the 1990s. At first, the Internet lacked market-oriented focusing devices and/or economic inducement mechanisms typically associated with directing efforts toward the most valuable innovative outcomes.2 There were contracts for carrier services between government buyers and commercial suppliers, for example, but no general market orientation towards the pricing of the exchange of traffic between carriers. There also were a few providers of Internet equipment for government users, but no waves of inventive entrepreneurial entry. There were managers who understood the specific needs of their niche user communities, but no possibility for tailoring new products and services to every potential new set of users. How could an institutional setting that lacked market-orientation yield a set of innovations tha

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