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Your Country Your Call: Big Ideas that Worked

The clock is ticking on getting a proposal into the Your Country Your Call competition in Ireland (though open to the world). There seems to be some confusion on what kinds of ideas are being called for and some discussion about intellectual property….the problem is there really shouldn’t IP from this at all….it is a ‘game changing’ idea not some new, better mouse trap. Not a new widget but the industry and infrastructure behind that industry.

Examples? Well there has been the oft-cited example of the IFSC, the Financial Services Centre in Dublin which was a copy of similar ideas in the big economies, but developed for Ireland’s capabilities (and now being copied in other countries). So what other ideas have had this kind of effect?

Well one big idea that might surprise is Spaceport America  in New Mexico. The aim here is to build the world’s first purpose-built spaceport, to become the world centre for commercial space flight. To bring orbital launch, recovery operations and relevant infrastructure to New Mexico. With commercial and tourist markets for space flight set to soar (excuse the pun), several companies including Virgin Galactic are now planning to offer sub-orbital flights for a cost which is acceptable to a range of wealthy people (from $200,000) as opposed to cost to date of going to space (which was in the millions). The commercial market for satellite delivery to orbit is also growing and a very lucrative business (ask the Russians).

The benefits to New Mexico are obvious. Being the world centre for a growing industry, large number of potential follow-on technologies being developed, and the potential for large number of highly paid engineering, aeronautical and technology jobs and potential for PhD studentship. They have targeted a range of industry sectors such as sub-orbital delivery companies, makers of space technology, satellite manufacturers, commercial space flight companies, relevant services and infrastructure companies.

Is it working? Well leading companies such as Virgin Galactic, UP Aerospace, Scaled Composites, Orbital Sciences Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) have either signed up or are in negotiation. The tag-line for New Mexico is to provide “Destination Experience” for visitors to Spaceport America. If you look at the artists drawings it sure looks that way.

We will be covering other BIG IDEAS in this blog and the Green Technologies blog later….

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