The Time is NOW for Commercially Viable Fusion (CVF)

A guest blog by Romi Mahajan

In her path breaking book “The Entrepreneurial State”, Marianna Mazzucato argues cogently, and with plenty of evidence, that the State is the key actor in technology innovation and development. We use the words “the” and “key” purposely- for four reasons:

1. The State creates and/or underwrites new technologies with a long-term view.
2. The State’s investment and ongoing incentives limit private risk.
3. There is no private investor that can compete with the State with regard to pool of available capital.
4. The State’s investments are not measured with the same ROI calculations and over the same periods.

One can go-on (and on) but these four parameters themselves make the case. Mazzucato isn’t alone in her analysis- most scholars agree- though her ideas might seem anathema to those in the technology sector who like to excessively laud private “innovation” and simultaneously lambast “government.” We can discuss this victory of Public Relations later. Here, we are interested more in understanding this idea as it pertains to the march to Commercially Viable Fusion (CVF).

Fusion has been underwritten almost exclusively the State. For seven decades, the quest for CVF has been ongoing. The carriage of Fusion has been characterized by fits and starts, but the overall vector has been positive. For many, the quest for CVF is seen as a bottomless pit of investment, but others see this as the standard manner in which science progresses- a sort of punctuated equilibrium of change. Each success and each failure begets something better.

While the State might be the key actor, there is no suggestion that private investment and innovation is unnecessary; it is in fact crucial. Private investment typically comes later in the game, when the infrastructure and basic science undergirding technology innovation has been developed. So too with CVF.

At some point in the innovation and development cycle, a sufficient critical mass of knowledge, talent, and advanced methods generates interest in the private sector and propels investment in the space. At this point, the punctuation can begin in earnest, as a variety of both competing and collaborative players strive to push the industry forward rapidly and with hope of private profit as well as public benefit. That’s where we are with CVF today. It’s indeed a heady era.

At this stage, with the efflorescence of interest and investment, firms in the CVF space must be willing to share, collaborate, and enhance each other. The stakes are high. An ecosystem must be built with intention.

Clearly, there are competing ideas, some more solid than others (forgive the pun.) Clearly, there are companies that will fail and some that will succeed. But, as with science, both successes and failures advance the industry.

It is our time.

Written by Paul Dunay
Paul Dunay is an award-winning B2B marketing expert with more than 20 years’ success in generating demand and creating awareness for leading technology, consumer products, financial services and professional services organizations. Paul is the global vice president of marketing for Maxymiser a leading web optimization firm, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies (Wiley Custom Publishing 2010), Facebook Advertising for Dummies (Wiley 2010) and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition (Wiley 2011). His unique approach to marketing has led to recognition of Paul as a BtoB Magazine Top 25 B2B Marketer of the Year for 2010 and 2009 and winner of the DemandGen Award for Utilizing Marketing Automation to Fuel Corporate Growth in 2008. He is also a finalist for the last six years in a row in the Marketing Excellence Awards competition of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA), and is a 2010 and 2005 gold award winner in Driving Demand. Buzz Marketing for Technology, Paul’s blog, has been recognized as a Top 20 Marketing Blog for 2009 and 2008, a Top Blog to Watch for 2009 and 2008, and an Advertising Age Power 150 blog in the “Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs.” Paul has shared his marketing thought leadership as a featured speaker for the American Marketing Association, BtoB Magazine, CMO Club, MarketingProfs, Marketing Sherpa, Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and ITSMA. He has appeared on Fox News, and his articles have been featured in BusinessWeek, The New York Times, BtoB Magazine, MarketingProfs and MarketingSherpa. Paul holds an Executive Certificate in Strategy and Innovation from MIT’s Sloan School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Computer Science from Ithaca College.