You might think the U.S. productivity slowdown is finally ending, but unfortunately the news isn’t as good as it first seems. Instead, we are specializing in a new and sadly necessary practice of what I call “defensive innovation.” Defensive innovation is when you create a new product or capability to protect yourself against an impending disaster, such as the worst scenarios for climate change.
Innovation is one of those words that can mean a lot of different things. Whether you’ve developed artificial intelligence software that can predict your schedule or just decided to put potato chips on a turkey sandwich (try it, seriously), innovation comes in all shapes and sizes. However, when it comes to the tech world, the word has a very specific meaning: your ability to disrupt your industry. And these cities house some of the most innovative people, companies, and attitudes in the entire world.
According to data from A.T. Kearney, innovation is easier to define than you might think. In their Global Cities Index, they ranked the cities of the world based on business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. And, with those metrics in mind, one clear winner shown through: New York City.
China wants to become a “premier global AI innovation center” by 2030. This plan seeks to redress current shortcomings and build up indigenous capabilities in innovation. The effort will include extensive government funding and investments, along with a focus on attracting and developing leading talent in AI.
The last few years have been inundated with major acquisitions, each creating buzz from within and beyond the business world. To name a few, in June of 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn (which had already acquired online learning site Lynda.com the previous year). Fast forward to last month when Walmart announced it would buy Bonobos - a mostly-online men’s upscale clothing retailer - and Amazon announced it was set to buy Whole Foods Market.
For the last 35 years Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been promising much yet not delivering outside of the academic world. So what exactly is AI? There is actually a fair bit of confusion about even the definition of AI, and here I would like to take Gartner’s viewpoint, avoiding marketing terms like ‘cognitive’ in that AI stands for “Amazing Innovation”.
“The future is already here -- it’s just not very evenly distributed,” is an oft-repeated William Gibson line. (Especially by bloggers, I would imagine.) It’s an insight that may help explain the odd disconnect between innovation and productivity. If you look at the broad US economic growth and productivity statistics for the past decade -- actually a little longer -- it’s sort of like Silicon Valley doesn’t exist.
As important as advanced technology innovation is, its rewards are not distributed evenly. Not every region in the United States has what it takes to be a technology innovation hub like Silicon Valley, and not every U.S. worker currently can get a high-paying, secure technology job working at Google.
The total score for each country--and thus the final overall ranking--is based on 81 criteria, collected under 7 ‘pillars’ that in turn represent 2 overarching sub-indices. The five pillars under the Innovation Input Sub-Index are: 1) institutions, 2) human capital and research, 3) infrastructure, 4) market sophistication, and 5) business sophistication, all of which address elements of the national economy reflecting innovative activities.
It’s challenging to track the breathless pace and breadth of all the emerging technology making it increasingly easy and exciting to collect and share information and images about ourselves, each other and the world we experience. But if you are taking note of the rapid growth, you might well wonder: Where are we heading? How will life change?