MOFs have been around for roughly 20 years. As with all fields of chemistry, a lot of research has been undertaken in the intervening time – there are many types of MOFs, but how do they each perform under certain circumstances, are they commercially viable? All questions of great interest.

In 2016, in collaboration with MOF Technologies, US based agri giant Decco were the first to bring a commercially viable MOF based product to market. That’s a hugely significant step for the world of nanochemistry, and specifically, the emerging commercial field of MOFs.

What set Decco apart? Their approach to innovation.

A slow death

Turn the clock back to 2002 – 15 years ago. The streaming of movies, songs and sports hadn’t quite proliferated mainstream media – but the signs of a new epoch were surely apparent. Napster (remember that?) had become a widely used song streaming service, shifting consumer focus from hard copy CDs to digital MP3 files.

The Directors of Xtra-Vision presumably pondered this presumably inexorable rise of digital media; curiously, they did not act, sticking rigidly to their business model of hard copy rentals.

The company soldiered on bravely until 2015 when Netflix effectively drove the final nail into their coffin.

Another interesting example is that of Kodak – quite why the film giant did not evolve its own business into digital channels is not known.

These are obviously rather clichéd examples of businesses that singularly failed in their responsibility to innovate – but what lessons can be learnt?

The reality is, that all industries are subject to an innovation lag – something that they can rarely control. Those that envisage and embrace innovation tend to enjoy a thriving business – those that don’t, are likely to fail.

Innovate

I remember the release of the iPod. At the time, I was quite happy with my Walkman stereo and collection of cassettes; rather reminiscent of the words of Henry Ford, founder of the Ford auto vehicle empire – “if I had asked the people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

A fantastic example of Apple noticing an embryonic industry trend – not only building cutting edge physical hardware, but also becoming the exclusive supplier by creating its own music store, iTunes.

Broadly speaking, the lesson here is stagnation can often lead to obsolescence.

Lab

Embracing innovation is the reason we are opening a new Innovation Test Lab.

At MOF Technologies, we are very much excited by the potential of the MOF. They haven’t been described as “miracle materials” by the Royal Society of Chemistry for no reason. We recognize they they are a relatively new advance in chemistry – but we also believe in them as a potential corner stone of the future for a number of industries.

That’s what our new R&D lab is for. The future for your product or application just might lie with MOFs – let us collaborate with you, innovate and take the first steps together toward your product journey with MOFs.