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”