Is the Cost of Innovation Falling?

An answer to the question of whether the cost of innovation is truly falling has dramatic consequences for low-GDP countries and small businesses everywhere. Despite mounting difficulties (i.e. new breakthroughs in some industries are increasingly more expensive than what preceded them), the falling cost of replicating breakthrough innovations provides small companies and economically weak countries with a distinct advantage: combining innovative outputs into what one may call "synthetic innovations."

This model of innovation implies that the costly, complex managerial and technical resources needed in conventional innovation are not always required. The paramount resources become the ability to spot the right inputs for intermixing, the will to experiment, and a culture of openness and humility about the very essence of innovation (including a greater desire for new kinds of partnership). Hence, smaller players — be they countries or businesses — do not need to suffer a chronic disadvantage even though the costs of breakthrough innovation are rising.

Read full article » blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/10…

 

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