In the global geography of innovation, India is straddling two continents. Its engineers have contributed to the success of the Silicon Valley: the father of the USB socket, the inventor of the Intel Pentium chip, the general manager of Microsoft are Indian, as is part of the senior management at Google. The success of this Diaspora reflects the talents of Indian engineers, but it can also be linked with an original innovation culture, which expresses itself in an amazing ability to reverse concepts. Three meta-innovations illustrate this Indian way.
Parrot's adventure began in 1994 with voice-controlled organizers. It never became a huge commercial success, but the technology involved was recycled into hands-free car kits, and Parrot quickly became a major player in this market. After that, it started manufacturing communication products for the general public. In 2010, a toy drone controlled by smartphone was launched; this success made Parrot one of the leading manufacturers of consumer drones. Three lessons can be drawn from this experience.
The Airbnb community reflects very interesting socio-cultural aspects. Almost 73% of Americans are unaware of collaborative economy, and this consumption pattern appeals primarily to under-45s, university graduates and people with a good level of income. This form of consumption is popular among the upper stratum of society because of the Romantic image it conjures, the ecological label and the art of living together. Simultaneously, it federates the support of young people because of the economic benefits it provides. Collaborative economy is the warhorse of a sort of cultural avant-garde; but this group will grow.
As automation technologies such as machine learning and robotics play an increasingly great role in everyday life, their potential effect on the workplace has, unsurprisingly, become a major focus of research and public concern. The discussion tends toward a Manichean guessing game: which jobs will or won’t be replaced by machines?
Rapid technological upgrades and commercial innovation, coupled with a slow legislative and regulatory process, have given rise to successive social issues and disputes: Should platforms like Uber be legalized or not? Should Apple’s encryption technology be restricted? Should search results be affected by keyword bidding? Such issues not only pose great challenges to state governance, but also arouse intense social debates and controversies.
Over a number of years, the legal industry has been affected by a troubling change that looks every day less like a science fiction story. Lawyers and legal experts are witnessing the rise of digital services that integrate increasingly complex functions of the legal sector. The rise of Legal Tech has spawned a proliferation of startups focusing on the development of new technologies. Hence, secular jobs, which should have been spared by new technologies, are at the forefront of an assimilation phenomenon by artificial intelligences. Will robots wear court dresses in a near future?
What are the triggers of an innovation project? Though there is extensive literature on innovation management, what exactly drives innovation remains unclear. And yet, it is a fundamental issue, considering that the future of the firm is at stake. Who should imagine this future and take the responsibility of initiating projects? R&D, marketing, prospective teams? There is no single answer. But a full range of business cases illustrate all three models.
Clextral is an engineering company located in Firminy near Saint-Etienne, France. It employs 275 people including 80 engineers, sells its machines in 88 countries and has subsidiaries and offices on every continent. What's the secret?
Articles analyzing why there's no Chinese innovation are all over the place. Meanwhile, the situation is changing at a rapid pace. How do Chinese entrepreneurs move from imitators to innovators? To better understand these issues, our Chinese edition invited a number of pioneers and observers at the front-line of domestic and international innovations.
It is a paradox: despite huge oil reserves supporting their wealth, Norwegians have become, in a few years, the first users of electric vehicles. These represent 18% of new registrations since the beginning of 2015! The key to this unprecedented growth, nowhere else to be found, is their convincing policy of incentives... so convincing, in fact, that its designers have been overwhelmed by its success: the model is bound to evolve.
In February Elon Musk boldly predicted Tesla motors would go where no car company has ever gone before, to a $700 billion market valuation by 2025. To put that in perspective, Apple became the most valuable company in history when it reached a $700 billion market valuation in November 2014. Compared to the automobile industry, $700 billion dwarfs the market value of the five biggest public automobile companies. Together, Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, Ford and Honda have a market cap of just $522 billion. Is Elon Musk crazy? Or is he planning something only he can see?
Innovative, more participatory and personalized forms of learning are emerging. Among these new forms of learning, two have acquired significant importance over the course of recent years: serious games and MOOCs. Their main advantage is to allow a high degree of personalization in the learning process, a principle that has been long advocated by education specialists but that happens to be impractical in our mass educational models.
Ever heard of maps 2.0? Yes, just like web 2.0, they are not only digital but also social and personal. You can make them yours, as well as use your friends' knowledge and experience of a city. What do they show, how do they work? Citymaps is probably one of the most innovative startups in the game. CEO and cofounder Elliot Cohen tells us about the dreams that lie beneath the map – with a glimpse of the technical challenges and the business model.
A slew of new product introductions indicate virtual reality technology is coming into its own - but it's a sector that is still waiting for a breakthrough product to win over consumers.
Storing electricity? Some old solutions to this old problem are gaining momentum nowadays, thanks to recent improvements. Among these solutions, using electricity to obtain hydrogen and reconverting it later into energy or heat via fuel cells. The advantages are numerous: the possibility to store the excess production of electricity generated by renewable energy sources, to mix the hydrogen with natural gas (methane), to power electric vehicles… But there are as many challenges ahead if we want hydrogen to be a significant part of the future energy mix. Actions are under way. Let us discover them!
The question first arose in the 1980s, with the advent of the personal computer: were we all going to have to learn to program? The development of the software industry seemed to have given one definitive, and negative, answer to this question. Yet it is coming back, with a vengeance. Why exactly should we take it seriously this time around?
During the 20th century Governments and public agencies such as NASA played a major role in the innovation chain. The Internet itself was born through public programs, just as GPS and many other game-changing technologies. But in recent years, questions arose over the efficiency of public efforts, challenged by smart, dynamic, powerful corporations such as Google, on the one hand, or bottom-up and open source models, on the other hand. Are Governments out of the game?
Children of the digital era are accustomed to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. Philosopher Michel Serres describes them as no longer having the same heads. Is it a generational question? In any case educators cannot ignore the new thinking patterns. Our schools must take them into account, not only in adapting teaching methods but also in inventing a new role in a Society that consumes knowledge instantly.
The Internet has revolutionized our access to knowledge. Why should education not be affected? Institutions are evolving, but the arrival of new technologies and practices such as MOOCs have only had a limited impact thus far. Yet it is now apparent that we stand at the dawn of major changes. It is not just the new tools that will change matters but an in-depth evolution of Society and our economies.
In China just like everywhere else, the tertiary sector has long been deemed as an affiliation or an attachment to primary and secondary industries with a certain amount of contribution to employment, but never as a driver of the economy. The game is changing. Industries such as finance and retail are facing a technological reinvention, and great changes are also reshaping HR services.