closing out a year of innovation

Taking a moment to reflect on this past year, let me review 3 major topics I put forth attempting to drive innovation in the architectural lighting industry.

Ambient Communications

At the start of the year I spoke at several conferences and published a few pieces exploring data-driven architectural lighting. It created a bit of buzz on LinkedIn and other places, but for sure this is a complex topic that builds on other innovations such as embedded lighting. I then sponsored and mentored Yasaman Mavvaj’s master thesis project at TU Delft’s school of Industrial Design. It will take some time for “the masses” to understand the amazing creative potential and use-case/ROI of ambient communications.

DC Power

In the summer and fall I worked with a startup launching DC power systems and LED retrofit solutions for retail applications. The opportunity to save 15% electrical consumption in a commercial building by eliminating wasteful DC/AC/DC conversions, plus a modern digital electrical infrastructure is an obvious and immediate opportunity for the rush of net-zero-energy buildings popping up. After a decade of fits-and-starts, DC power is poised as another radical revolution waiting to explode in the building industry, just like LED lighting was positioned back around 2007-2010.

Circular Economy

Although I’ve been pushing the concept of using “radical” sustainable product designs to actually lower LED product costs for many years now, the topic remains just as novel and hot. I created a conceptual product design for a “bamboo pendant” for office applications and won the U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Innovator Challenge for the Sustainable Manufacturing of Luminaires. And my post on LinkedIn went viral, receiving 13,500+ views. An incredible number of industry friends and professional colleagues reached out to say how much they loved the design.

What’s Next?

Data-driven lighting, DC power and circular economy design are just 3 of 6 major trends that will drive innovation in the lighting industry for the next decade. I believe they are all interlinked and will cross-drive 2nd-level innovations between them. Via Lucept, I’m writing a six-part piece surveying these 6 trends. I plan on publishing it next decade. As in tomorrow!

As for myself, to be frank, it was a bit of a rough year for me professionally. Behind the scenes I was offered the CEO role of a startup that unfortunately missed its Series A funding and was stuck in limbo for a half year. Unfortunately, because I expected to join full time, I didn’t build a funnel of consulting projects for Koerner Design.

But tomorrow is a new year and a new decade, and I hope to have something major to announce by the end of January.