Dallas-Fort Worth is host to a diverse mixture of nationalities, capabilities and needs, and we tend to react respectfully but ambivalently to innovation — that is, until the moment of clarity when we recognize that innovations undeniably improve our lives.
Yes, for decades our region has been recognized around the world for innovation in semiconductors, telecom, energy, nanotechnology, biomedical, defense, and much more.
Here are two new examples of innovation triggers to add to our list:
- Access to affordable, reliable sources of water.
- Need for the commercial real estate supply-chain to build smarter using complete design, big data, and the Internet of Things to finish projects with zero change orders, on time, and on budget.
I’m privileged to be a member of the team commercializing a device called an “Atmospheric Water Generator” that efficiently harvests desalinated water from air moisture, off the grid, at a lower cost than bottled water, and without risk to the environment. So far, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued 10 patents to the DFW-based host company SunToWater a spin-off of the electronics manufacturing giant, Flextronics.
In November 2015, SunToWater competed against hundreds of companies from around the world in Silicon Valley and earned first prize in Singularity University’s 2015 Impact Challenge.
“We have an opportunity to positively impact severe drought in California and other parts of our planet by leveraging technologies that increase available water supplies. I’m grateful to collaborate with California Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom and his stakeholders to benefit people, business, and public entities,” CEO Benjamin Blumenthal said.
This milestone, along with many others, including passing the due-diligence test of the Gates Foundation in 2014, has positioned SunToWater as the go-to solution for affordable, reliable sources of water for drought-stressed communities all over the world.
Regarding building smarter with big data
I’m privileged to be part of a team of subject matter experts from industry and academics. We’ve discovered how to combine the Six-Sigma method of business process improvement with integrated design, project management, business intelligence, and a family of sensors.
All of these methods and skills combine to create commercial real estate projects that result in zero change orders and finish on time and on ;;;budget. This DFW/San-Jose/Seattle-based company of LKG collaborated with the Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering at Stanford University, the UT Dallas Jindal School of Management, The Beck Group, the structural engineering firm of GPLA, Realcomm, Trimble Software, CBRE, Disney, Tesla, Siemens, HKS Architects and dozens of other entities to launch a first-ever Building Smarter event in November 2015 to accomplish the above goal using High-Definition Building Information Modeling (HD-BIM). The team successfully deployed HD-BIM on a range of projects, including the Arts & Entertainment campus at USC, Tesla’s Mega-Factory in Reno, Nevada, and Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California.
One of many results of the November event, and from experience gleaned from other such projects, is an initiative to create a $500-million fund governed by a public-private partnership to filter, select and deploy HD-BIM on sustainable building projects. LKG has tapped into the deep base of software developers to code the technology, architect and prototype the sensors, and project-manage the construction process management pipeline.
Heeding an entrepreneurial calling
Both SunToWater and LKG are deftly navigating the Innovation Receptivity Spectrum with unbridled tenacity and clarity of purpose. This allows for deflecting the above-mentioned suspicion, normal competitive turbulence, and macro-economic factors far beyond the team’s control. We and other others like us are heeding an entrepreneurial calling that goes beyond a thirst for fame, fortune and power.
Instead, we sense an urgency to solve a problem that will benefit the greater good.
So, yes, a business entity must be prudent to strive for positive cash flow and to reward stakeholder risk. But also, such operational goals can be achieved with less resistance when the right team comes together for the right purpose at the right time and in the right environment. DFW provides this and more.
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