In the field of alternate energy, companies that can anticipate how their products or services will impact the marketplace, are likely to be among the few that will really prosper and that will really ever matter.
GLOBE-Net - The late Steve Jobs is eulogized for the way his company's technology changed the way we work (the i-Mac), how we listen to music (the i-Pod) and how we communicate (the i-Phone) with each other.
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook has been credited as the technology that changed interpersonal relationships in the digital age, and more recently, as the vehicle that ignited the Arab Spring Revolutions unfolding in that very troubled part of the world.
There are many other examples of technologies that over time have changed the course of history - gunpowder, the stirrup, the radio, the model T Ford, the telephone, television, the microwave, the memory chip, the Internet, … the list goes on and on.
One thing that is clear, however, is that the developers of these technologies did not know how their inventions would ultimately be deployed or the effect they would have on our societies.
But their technologies (or the products based upon them) have succeeded by making life easier through enhanced communication, better transportation options, facilitated work environments, through thought expression, and by allowing more people to realize their dreams.
Understandably, it is often a combination of technologies that lead to the game changing products that redefine our worlds.
Companies that can anticipate how their products or services will impact the marketplace, or that correctly interpret the discordant and often confusing messages that abound in our daily lives, are likely to be among the few that will really prosper and that will really matter.
They don't have to be an industry giant to do this - Microsoft and Apple started out as small garage-level entities - but all fulfilled the all important need to give people the means to communicate, to get about, to express themselves, etc. - in short, to fulfill a 'need'.
It is not surprising that technology innovators and product developers are trying to anticipate the next great 'need' to be satisfied and how to prosper by fulfilling it.
One of the most active areas of such inquiry is how to power our future - that is, how to harness energy sources that are more convenient, more efficient, more environmentally friendly, and that better our lives at a lower cost.
Despite the many areas of exploration related to renewable energy, there are many barriers to overcome before enough wide-scale deployment takes place that our dependency on fossil fuels can be broken. But it will be the company that brings all the pieces together, enabling people to live better lives, that will have the most significant market impact.
No one can predict who will become the next Microsoft or Apple. But whoever develops a technology or a product that touches the everyday lives of people stands a good chance to be in the winners circle. That is the first test of potential success.
The Cleantech Group, which recently released its list of 100 clean technology companies to watch over the next five to 10 years, will be at GLOBE 2012, taking place in Vancouver, Canada, on March 14-16, 2012.
Cleantech's CEO Sheeraz Haji will be on hand to moderate a panel entitled "Emerging Technologies: The Evolution of the Clean Energy Sector".
This panel of experts from the energy and investment communities will look at the evolution of the clean energy sector and the technologies that could become the power plays of the next decade.
Find out who has the power to change the world by participating and interacting with the close to 10,000 business and environment industry leaders who will be at GLOBE 2012, taking place in Vancouver on March 14-16, 2012.
Learn more about GLOBE 2012 at http://www.globe2012.com