The transformation in the lighting industry due to LEDs is referred to as one of the “fastest technology shifts in human history” by Goldman Sachs. This is an incredible observation for someone who participated in this transformation from before it was considered even likely in the mid 90’s.
The previous such transformation was the conversion from gas lighting to electric lights. Most people believe that Edison invented the electric bulb, but in fact it was several decades after the first invention of an incandescent light source. However, Edison was a key transformation agent (with others) who developed, advocated for and established the infrastructure needed to enable electric light – glass bulbs, tungsten filaments, electric grid, switches and so forth. To this day, the socket we screw in our new LED lamps is called the Edison socket!
Edison’s example highlights the difference between invention and innovation. We at Dr. Chips Consulting focus on the innovation process – taking invention to commercial success whether it is technology, service or a novel business model. We believe that the razor sharp tests posed by customer, market, and economics are the true arbiters of success in innovation.
We now see that the transformation of a scale as profound as Edison’s electric light has been triggered by LEDs and soon OLEDs. A light source that converts electrons to photons directly, LEDs have also seeded many other possibilities: health and wellness, LiFi, tunable lighting, smart lighting and connectedness, indoor agriculture and as yet unknown new applications. Our work has gone beyond the bulb into many of these new and yet emerging applications and business models.