Companies all over the world are becoming increasingly worried about their ability to innovate and compete in the fast-changing technology world.
The survey of 3,100 senior business executives in 25 countries, showed the anxiety that these executives feel about innovation and how confused they are about global competitiveness. One in three said that the increased competition and accelerated pace of technological advancement is having a negative impact on their local economy. And while 71 percent said they favor the opening of their markets to foreign trade, investment, and technology imports, an equal percentage want protectionist government procurement policies that favor domestic technological development. There was a 53 percent overlap in the people who expressed these two opposing views. Executives from the U.S. were only a little less divided than Indian executives on this issue.
Business executives agree on some things. They agree, for example, that they need to better understand customers and anticipate market evolutions, attract and retain innovative people, and stay ahead of the technology curve.
It’s clear that companies may have become more fearful of the future, but are really confused about what lies ahead and what they and governments should do.
It has been said countless times, but it still bears repeating: Technologies are advancing at exponential rates in fields such as robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), computing, synthetic biology, 3D printing, medicine, and nanomaterials. These advances are making it possible for small startups to take on the largest corporations in the world by developing technologies that make established products obsolete. Combinations of exponential technologies can, as I’ve written before, threaten entire industries—as what robotics, AI, and 3D printing promise to do to China’smanufacturing industry, what cheap tablet computers will do to the personal computer industry and advances in sensors and genomics will do to the medical devices and pharmaceutical industry.
Technology change should be a real cause of concern and perhaps some of the fear that’s coming through is the recognition that that is happening at a faster pace than many of us can comprehend.
Every big company that wants to be in business at the end of the decade needs to “run a different play,” and they need to disrupt themselves before some startups—coming out of nowhere—do. Instead of trying to raise protectionist barriers, large companies need to build the same types of innovative products and services that the startups would.
(Excerpt from an article in Washington Post by Vivek Wadhwa. Full article available @:
- Innovation is hard work these days, business leaders admit (smartplanet.com)
- Is the Technology World Too ‘Pop Culture’? (slashgear.com)
- Is Innovation Over? (treehugger.com)
- Is the “lean startup” the right approach for your industry? (whiteboardmag.com)