I am at the IBM CTO conference in New York this week. The theme is "Collaborative Innovation". The general thesis of the conference is that technology innovation in the future cannot use the old model of single sourced, monolithic R&D centers. Instead, technology innovation will require collaborative innovation based on technology partnerships.
There was an interesting presentation this morning from Eric Brynjolfsson of MIT. A couple highlights/assertions from his presentation:
1) There are a number of factors that people normally attribute to driving economic growth (skilled workers, access to capital, etc.). Economic growth in the future will be a product of one thing: Productivity. Productivity is defined as Output divided by Input. Therefore, the key to increasing productivity is doing more with less....through technology/business process innovation.
2) The amount of digital information is DOUBLING every 1.1 years. That is an incredible statistic. I can only start to imagine the implications that this has for search, storage, processing power, etc.
3) The most scarace resource in the future will be: Attention. With all of the digital content and ways to access it....the battle will be to grab and hold people's attention. Over the past 10 years, the annual hours/per person spent conusming information has not changed. In 1993, each person spent 3,324 hours consuming information. In 2000, each person spent 3,380 hours consuming information. A mere 1.7% increase! The implication: Attention is the scarace resource. How do you grab the attention of customers?
4) Dell's approach to innovation is very unique. On a continuous basis, they look to reduce the floor space that they are using in their factories, while increasing output. This is business process innovation through technology and it is reducing their capital expenditures. They are improving their business through "intangible" inputs (ie business process innovation) as opposed to "tangible" inputs (ie building a new factory).