Sometimes, I forget how lucky our generation is to have seen so much innovation, especially in technology. When I go abroad, I realize more so than ever how grateful I should be, to have grown-up in the Silicon Valley watching hardware, software and Internet advancements – literally – disrupt the country, then the world. The tech industry, is such a magical place to be.
This trip, I had many conversations with people from various technological backgrounds and countries of origins. No matter the various experiences we had, the running topic was: “Where do you see the next wave of innovation coming from? The Silicon Valley, NY or another country?”
Coming from the US and especially raised in the Silicon Valley, people seemed to be caught off guard by how I think tech is moving in two different directions. The tech we see coming out of the US and other developed countries are naturally, technology enabling us to make our lives easier — convenience technologies. Like a car service app or shopping app, news, music, fashion and beauty apps. Technology that dents the industry but doesn’t shift the world like products our parents or grandparents for some of you saw. Imagine living in an era when televisions, home phones, cell phones, personal computers and the likes first hit the market. Then came the wave of software and services that changed the way information is exchanged worldwide — Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and even Twitter.
When you think about it, do you see the holycowisthisreal-type innovation happening in developed countries any time soon? Innovation has plateaued and I see the next wave of innovation happening in under-developed countries. Environments, where there are many problems humanitarian groups have been trying to solve for decades like India, China, Africa and similar nations where there are respective experts, on the ground, researching and developing technologies, products and services that saves lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing but utter respect for every entrepreneur taking the chance to build something to leave a mark in history. I just wish words like innovation and disruption were saved for technologies that could potentially solve the world’s clean water problem (probably out of India). Or a piece of hardware that conserves energy (will most likely come from China).
Though if you take a close enough look, you may notice innovation already happening. Starting with “something designed with the poor and for the poor, and with the word ‘diarrhoea’ in it” winning an international design award against Bang & Olufsen, Nike, an ‘innovative’ ketchup bottle designed by MIT… amongst others. And I have a feeling this is only the beginning.
Just something I’ve been thinking about.