Man­ag­ing Change

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The process of imag­i­na­tion that be­comes in­no­va­tion, which be­comes com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion, is fairly sim­i­lar country to country. But the prob­lem is, some coun­tries have the where­withal — the ac­cess to cap­i­tal, the em­ployee base — to take some­thing from imag­i­na­tion to re­al­ity, and oth­ers don’t. In the most highly de­vel­oped coun­tries, you do have baked in a set of ad­van­tages that don’t ex­ist in fron­tier mar­kets or in de­vel­op­ing economies.

More of­ten than not, it’s in the de­vel­oped economies. It’s in places like Sil­i­con Val­ley where they’re go­ing to cre­ate en­tirely new plat­forms that bil­lions of peo­ple will even­tu­ally use. Whereas in de­vel­op­ing economies — at least to this point and it could change — it’s been the case that what I see is build­ing a tool, build­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion, de­vel­op­ing that solves a very spe­cific prob­lem as op­posed to build­ing plat­forms that serve hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple.…

One of the rea­sons why I wrote The In­dus­tries of the Fu­ture was as a re­sponse to how poorly West Vir­ginia re­sponded to glob­al­i­sa­tion and tech­nol­ogy-driven in­no­va­tion. They clung on to coal even as coal be­came au­to­mated. This is where lead­er­ship is nec­es­sary.

Peo­ple can­not curl into the fe­tal po­si­tion and wish for the pros­per­ity of yes­ter­day. It’s not the strong­est of the species that sur­vives or the most in­tel­li­gent, but the most adap­tive to change — as true in most highly de­vel­oped western economies as it is any­where.

From “‘In­dus­tries of the Fu­ture’: Alec Ross Un­veils the Win­ners”

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