As the year 2013 has just ended, it is a good opportunity to reflect on my 2013 blog posts. Looking forward to the new year to come, I would like to draw some insights and observations, all of which I am happy to share with you.
I believe it is time to adopt two innovation strategies, as I believe that innovation is the main driver of human progress, and that it affects our lives more than any other factor that we consider when thinking about tomorrow.
The first strategy that I recommend every person, company, and country around the world to adopt is a“Technology Strategy”. The global economy is expanding as a function of growth and advancement in two dimensions: the marketplace and innovation. The first, or the X-axis, refers to “demand”. It represents “middle class” growth, and is all about marketplace opportunities, i.e. BRICS and MIST. More people are joining the circles of higher standards of living, and are thus, with an ever-growing demand, calling for more of everything, including food, energy, water, infrastructure, data and networks, utilities, housing, transportation, and so forth. But the X-axis demand depends on our ability to innovate, or “do more with less”.
While many of us have developed market strategies to address the X-axis expansion, we are at a point where we cannot continue without the help of the Y-axis, or the “supply”. This is where innovation strategy comes into play. The Y-axis will affect every aspect of our lives on the X-axis. In contrast, Y is not a marketplace; it belongs to individual innovators, outstanding companies, and creative societies. It is a necessity that both X and Y come together – no more “high-tech” and “low-tech”. It is time to merge the two together, and constantly “innovate on Y” in order to “provide for X”.
Just think of how many new “Y-words” we have learned in recent years, and how they have affected the X-markets. Here are just a few select examples:
- MOOC (“Massive On-Line Courses” – Education)
- Blogs (Content and Expression)
- Social Networks (Social Life)
- Cloud Computing (Computational Resources)
- 3D Printing (Discrete On Demand Production)
- Big Data (Data)
- Predictive Analytics (Analyzing the Future)
- Cyber Security (New Threats in the Digital World)
- Internet of Things (Connecting Elements)
- Wearable Devices and Google Glass
- Smart Grid
- App Stores
- Download / Upload
And the list goes on and on. Technology results in disruption of slow changing X-companies and X-industries, while creating new X-jobs. How many jobs will be eliminated due to Y, and how many new jobs will be created to feed X? X-axis job security is declining, and as a result, we are becoming a “startup world”. Going forward, we will have to become more entrepreneurial than ever before, and ready for constant change. It is time to adopt Y strategies.
The second strategy that I recommend to adopt is the “Inclusivity Strategy”, which relates to the power of innovation. The tension between Y-axis creative societies and X-axis market demand must be reduced. As we move forward at an ever increasing pace, a social division risk is being created between those who are driving the Y-locomotive and those who are operating the other X-parts of the train. We cannot afford to slow down, and yet we cannot allow for exclusivity. We need to develop strategies on how to bring together the non-participating parts of our societies, whether this refers to minority sectors or those from any other exclusivity basis, be it gender, belief, or other. Inclusivity strategies should be adopted on both the X-axis (haves, and have-not) and Y-axis (locomotive and train) dimensions.
Our world is growing bigger and more complicated than ever before, and so are the opportunities and risks we are facing. It is time to reflect, and decide what strategies we should adopt as we enter 2014.
As always I will be interested to hear from you.