Thursday, October 18, 2007

Something new under the sun

An interesting article from The Economist and an interview with Vijay Vaitheeswaran argue that "Innovation is becoming both more accessible and more global. This is good news because its democratisation releases the untapped ingenuity of people everywhere and that could help solve some of the world's weightiest problems."

When we think about "Innovators", automatically we perceive them as long white lab coat wearing scientist in a spotless laboratory, most likely funded by either government or rich companies. However, according to Vijay Vaitheeswaran "Now the centrally planned approach is giving way to the more democratic, even joyously anarchic, new model of innovation. Clever ideas have always been everywhere, of course, but companies were often too closed to pick them up. The move to an open approach to innovation is far more promising."

Though more "democratized" innovations mean more fierce competition around the world, "it is not necessarily a zero sum game. On the contrary, because the well of human ingenuity is bottomless, innovation strategies that tap into hitherto neglected intellectual capital and connect it better with financial capital can help both rich and poor countries prosper. That is starting to happen in the developing world."

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