Blogs

« go back

Nobody likes chaos but everybody wants innovation. Unfortunately they are concurrent things

Barack Obama is perhaps too busy today to Tweet his own messages to US voters, but he presumably approved this message from his staffers that "Change comes when we live up to this country’s legacy of innovation, by investing in the next generation of technology and manufacturing."  

Regardless the result of today's election it's generally held self-evident that innovation requires leadership, wheras managers require the status quo.

Perhaps in Europe we have better managers than leaders.

Former Nokia executive and Finland based blogger and podcaster Horace Dediu is a proponent that breakthroughs in technology, and thorefore technology growth, comes from disruptive companies - and he discusses what he calls The policymaker’s dilemma on his Asymco blog today.

 

Why is intervention in the European ICT industry a failure?

In an exchange with Robert van Apeldoorn, Journalist with Trends Tendances Magazine in Belgium, via e-mail, he was asked: "Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is considered in Europe as a way to push growth, and is a target of national and EU policies (digital growth,etc), but the result seems to be a failure: the European computer industry (hardware) is almost dead (ICL, Siemens computers bought by Fujitsu, Olivetti almost out of computer business, Nixdorf dead) since the 90’, and the telco industry seems to be in crisis. All European companies are out of the handset business (big and fading exception is Nokia, but with American software), and Alcatel is suffering with telco equipement manufacturing. It seems that at best, Europe can be a good niche player, with companies like ARM (chips). Technology seems to be reduced to localized services (computer services), some software businesses. Is it correct or exaggerated ?

The main problem is perphaps the creation of European platform/ecosystems. Almost all are American today: Apple IOS-iTunes, Android, Amazon,… Why Symbian didn’t succeed as a competitive platform ?  Is it possible to create European platforms? After all, IOS succeed after a short period of time.  What are the European tech companies that could play an important role in the near future ?

 

Innovation "very similar to the process of artistic creation"

According Horace Dediu this is a correct observation, "Europe has failed to generate growth on the basis of ICT. The reasons are that the rate of change in ICT is rapid and getting more so. If European businesses require intervention, support or other forms of assistance in terms of policy, the time for that coordination to take effect is longer than the cycle time of disruption."

"Almost all growth has come from companies that entered the space. Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook and even Microsoft came into positions of power from outside the industries they entered. Policy tends to offer means of sustaining incumbents or finding “logical” or defensible entrants. I should mention that the problem of industrial policy failing is not unique to Europe. Japan and to a lesser degree Korea are also facing crises of innovation due to policies designed to sustain rather than disrupt."

"It’s understandable given the need to justify spending other people’s money. No policy maker wants to spend it recklessly. However, the process of unforeseen growth is, well, unforeseeable. It cannot be predicted and it’s very likely to come from somewhere other than where you expect it."

Further on innovation Dediu describes the innovation process as chaotic. "It’s very similar to the process of artistic creation. The crisis in innovation comes from not having sufficient chaos. If Europe wants to preserve, sustain, nurture, and maintain it will do so at the expense of creative destruction. Nobody likes chaos but everybody wants innovation. Unfortunately they are concurrent things."

Comments
No comments yet. Be the first.