Guest Blogger: Lou Paglia MBA ’05

Masdar headquarters is the first large-scale building designed to generate more renewable electricity than it consumes. Credit: ©Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Masdar headquarters is the first large-scale building designed to generate more renewable electricity than it consumes. Credit: ©Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Since my time at MIT Sloan, Technology Review remains a constant in my personal reading list. In the latest issue, there is an article entitled A Zero-Emissions City in the Desert, which discusses the Masdar Initiative, a plan to invest over $15B dollars and to “create the world’s first car-free, zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions, zero-waste city” in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

I immediately felt the need to write a blog post of my own and in it, I make two key points. First, I love the “big bet” thinking that this project demonstrates as it will accelerate the strides we make in the space. Second, I believe the collective learning from the project, in success or failure, will be bigger than the project itself.

Much of this learning will take place at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a major element of the initiative being developed in collaboration with MIT’s Technology and Development Program. The Masdar Institute will leverage MIT-designed curriculum and “is helping to select and train the faculty, the institute will be a graduate research school, offering master’s degrees and, eventually, PhDs.” Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of the Initiative stresses the importance of the program best:

The Masdar Institute will serve as the nucleus of the Masdar Initiative, feeding it with talent and innovative technologies to enhance economic development and promote new industries using renewable energy and resources in the emirate and the region

Suffice it to say, I look forward to many more Tech Review articles discussing the new ideas, findings and funded ventures coming out of the Institute in the coming years. It’s wonderful to see MIT at the forefront of green innovation and it looks like the Masdar Initiative is just the beginning.