Two drivers for innovation in the 21st century… or at least the next 20 years

Try to imagine (or remember) how life was 20 years ago.

For most of us outside MIT or ARPA, it was a world of clunky typewriters and filing cabinets, of monopolistic telecom operators who’d charge exorbitant fees for long-distance calls. It was of course, before the era of the PC, the Internet and Skype.

Japanese multinationals had successfully entered the car and electronics market, bought a couple of landmarks in the US (Rockefeller Center and movie studios) and everybody was afraid Japan Inc. was going to take over.

Well. 20 years have past. Japan didn’t take over (at least not yet). It is now racing to keep up with the emergence of China and India (more than 2 billion customers and graduating each year between 450’000 and 950’000 engineers, depending on whom you believe) and you might be reading this post on your iPhone.

You may think there is only one Chinese computer brand (Lenovo) or believe that Chinese companies will forever be stuck as OEM producers. If this is the case, think about what “made in Japan” meant 30 years ago and what it means today (if you are still not convinced, dig out archive pictures of Toyota Celica and compare them with the latest catalogue of Lexus’ hybrid cars).

For the past 500 hundreds years we have had the tendency to look West for innovation. Well, add up the power of information and communication technologies to the emergence of China and… time has come to look East, at least for the next 20 years!

P.S.: Don’t worry. China Inc. will not take over either…

2 thoughts on “Two drivers for innovation in the 21st century… or at least the next 20 years

  1. Pingback: Laurent Haug’s blog » 2007 » August » 26

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