Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
This year's Green Challenge Competition is open for entries, and the organisers asked me to write a few words for their blog - www.greenchallengeblog.com, so in a shameless act of laziness, I thought that I'd repost it here...
Sometimes we all need a little encouragement – the problems in front of us can seem too big, too difficult, and it can seem that the future just holds more work and little in the way of reward . That’s when it’s nice to get a little encouragement - just a pat on the back, or recognition of the work that you’ve done. My encouragement came last week when I was visiting a company in the Netherlands.
the meeting itself went very well, and when I was leaving their offices, I noticed poster on the wall that echoed a firmly held belief in the power of the shed. Here’s some of what the poster said:
Believe you can change the world
Know when to work alone, and when to work together
Share – tools, ideas. Trust your colleagues.
No politics, no bureaucracy (these are ridiculous in a shed)
Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
Believe that together we can do anything.
So what is the power of the shed? Right now, across the world, ideas are being hatched, and technology is being invented that will help to save our planet. Ideas that will save energy, ideas that will help us to grow more food, ideas that will lead to better lives for all of our children. And these ideas are not being developed by huge multinational companies; these ideas belong to ordinary people, working with limited resources – in sheds, garages, and in houses around the world. The danger is that these ideas might not be recognised, and be lost forever before they have had the chance to prove their worth. Every day, people are having moments of insight, and having ideas that could be as important as the invention of the wheel – but their voices aren’t heard, their ideas aren’t explored, and we run the risk of overlooking something that could change our world. Because the men and women behind these ideas don’t have the backing of huge companies, it can be a difficult task to get your ideas heard, and more difficult still to persuade people that your ideas can make a real difference.
It could very easily have been a very different story for The Power Collective. We had designed and the RidgeBlade, we were convinced that the product was a good one, and that it could make a real difference in terms of carbon reduction and fuel poverty, but sometimes that is not enough. Market forces do not always work in favour of new ideas – too often small or new companies are left to fail for lack of finance or recognition, and we were funding the company ourselves, paying no wages, and struggling to make progress - until we got lucky... We entered and won the Green Challenge Competition!
The Green Challenge means that there is somewhere to go with the ideas that can change the world. It means that at least some of the ideas that can change the world will be given the chance to prove themselves, and that those lucky enough to win will be given a huge helping hand in the form of prize money to realise their ideas. So there is no excuse – if you have an idea that can change the world, even in a small way , get out of the shed and enter the competition. People want to listen to your ideas, and who knows – you could even win!
Thursday, 21 January 2010
"Massively late on parade, but I just clocked this…www.greenchallenge.info "
So we had 2 days before the closing date for applications for the Green Challenge competition, and a chance to win €500,000. Cue a couple of late nights, much coffee and an entry duly despatched. We thought no more about it until a phone call from Holland a couple of weeks later - we'd been shortlisted! Cutting a long story short, after a week in Amsterdam with the charming and hospitable people form the Dutch Postcode Lottery, we won. Which was nice.
So, 2010 finds us in a very different position to this time last year.. 12 months ago we were a small group of people with a big idea, and now we are a slightly larger group of people with a company, offices, investment and a plan (as well as a big idea).
So what have we done since? Well, the product design has carried on, we have put a lot of effort into strengthening and expanding our patents, and we are now planning our first production run. We expect to roll out the first test units in the summer, and make a start on installing the RidgeBlades for an extended period of testing and evaluation. Micro wind technologies have suffered in the past from a lot of bad press - from under-performance, issues with installation and safety, issues with noise and so on. We want to be absolutely positive that the RidgeBlade will meet all of it's design criteria - to be cheap, effective, quiet and easy to install, before they go on sale.
As to where the test units will be placed - at the moment we are in conversation with a number of local authorities, private individuals and multinational companies who will be helping us in installing the units in a variety of locations across the UK and Europe. For those of you that have expressed an interest in having a unit for test - thanks - but we have all of the locations that we need for the moment.
Obviously, until we have completed the testing we will not be publishing any figures on price or performance, but the whole reason behind RidgeBlade was to produce something that was cheaper and more effective than existing technologies - and we are still on target for achieving this.
One of our next steps will be to develop the website a little, and by the time you read this there will be a new enquiry form that will allow us to respond more effectively to your questions.
All the best,
The Power Collective