I attended the launch event for London Cleantech cluster in the City of London last night, here are a few observations.
The existing ‘cleantech’ industry, however you define it, in London, is very large. So in that sense the cluster already exists.
There is probably value to be gained from collaboration. Bill Clinton regularly says that “Collaboration, Sustainability and Innovation Are Key to America’s Economic Recovery”. Having people talking to each other is not exactly collaboration but is certainly a first step.
Putting a structure around the cluster – in the form of an association, or meetings, is similar to how a restaurant manager can convert a room full of tables, people and food, into – well – a restaurant. Nobody knows how he does it – that is the secret of the restaurant manager – but everybody can tell the difference between a place with an exciting atmosphere and one with just people sitting around tables. It invigorates it.
There’s still a big open question about how to get people to buy cleantech technology – a tougher question on how to develop cleantech technology which people want to buy. There are many different answers to that question but no obvious one. That is why the business sector is exciting.