Innovation: The new masters of management (The Economist)

Innovation: The new masters of management (The Economist)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

“Developing countries are competing on creativity as well as cost. That will change business everywhere”

“…Fortune 500 companies now have 98 R&D facilities in China and 63 in India. IBM employs more people in developing countries than in America. But it is also because emerging-market firms and consumers are both moving upmarket. Huawei, a Chinese telecoms giant, applied for more international patents than any other firm did in 2008. Chinese 20-somethings spend even more time on the internet than do their American peers.

Even more striking is the emerging world’s growing ability to make established products for dramatically lower costs: no-frills $3,000 cars and $300 laptops may not seem as exciting as a new iPad but they promise to change far more people’s lives. This sort of advance—dubbed “frugal innovation” by some—is not just a matter of exploiting cheap labour (though cheap labour helps). It is a matter of redesigning products and processes to cut out unnecessary costs. In India Tata created the world’s cheapest car, the Nano, by combining dozens of cost-saving tricks. Bharti Airtel has slashed the cost of providing mobile-phone services by radically rethinking its relationship with its competitors and suppliers. It shares radio towers with rivals and contracts out network construction, operations and support to specialists such as Ericsson and IBM.

Just as Henry Ford and Toyota both helped change other industries, entrepreneurs in the developing world are applying the classic principles of division of labour and economies of scale to surprising areas such as heart operations and cataract surgery, reducing costs without sacrificing quality. They are using new technologies such as mobile phones to bring sophisticated services, in everything from health care to banking, to rural communities. And they are combining technological and business-model innovation to produce entirely new categories of services: Kenya leads the world in money-transfer by mobile phone, for example.”

Full Story:
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15908408&source=hptextfeature