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Carlos Scheel: Innovation of innovation

If we want everything to remain as it is, it is necessary for everything to change”. GL Lampedusa.

More technological innovations have occurred in recent decades than in any other era of humanity; However, we have never been so in debt, nor so polluted and thirsty and with such high temperatures, so enslaved to machines, nor so limited in our freedoms and privacy, as we are now.

After the Second Great War, power was concentrated in a “military order” (mainly the United States), and later in the 70s the “economic order” began to take precedence with the start of the Chinese market, taking precedence over the tendencies of their political traditions. Today we see that the “digital order” is being imposed, being managed by technology companies. Today the world is polarizing around powerful technologists and their ideas.

The success of Chinese manufacturing, under the influence of Nixon and a group of businessmen, began the establishment of American companies under Chinese conditions and employing millions of people, mainly from rural areas, to assemble the largest manufacturing force ever created. known, breaking with a fundamental paradigm of the communist party by putting its companies to compete with international standards, with which it was able to grow faster than its capitalist counterparts, due to the cheapness of its manufacturing, its very long-term planning, not in electoral terms, and its one-party government guidelines.

This economic growth model must be redesigned, since it is far from being clean with the environment and equitable with its citizens.

Another case is India. It decided to focus on information technologies to employ the thousands of software engineers trained in its institutes and give rise to the most prepared and numerous computer services force on earth, concentrated in cities like Bangalore, which managed to grow economically, but have focused its wealth on a few, while the rest of the city lives in great poverty and unhealthiness. This economic model must be redesigned to properly distribute wealth.

What happened in England, with the beginning of mechanization of the textile industry in the late 1500s, began to displace seamstresses with machines, which was harshly criticized by Queen Elizabeth I, declaring that the “great “The social disaster that the sewing machine would produce by taking away the jobs of the hundreds of weavers who lived in the kingdom could not be allowed.” She knew something about the effect of productivity growth on social imbalance. In this case, the innovation took a long time to succeed due to the possible negative effect on the social fabric.

These countries made strong changes in their political structures that have given them great economic benefits, but today, under the magnifying glass of sustainability and the enormous influence of technology companies and their founding entrepreneurs, they must break the paradigms of the last century and redesign their growth models. If they are not sustainable, they cannot continue to grow as they have.

Innovation must be disruptive, systemic and harmonious between all the elements that make it up and those it impacts.

The same thing happens in the industry. The case of the electric car (EC), which was manufactured between 1830 (R. Anderson) and 1890 (A. Flocken), is today a change in an innovation, which must be inserted in the modern electrified transportation system, and in the entire value chain of its production and operation, if not, it is neither viable nor sustainable.

These cases tell us that today social, product or service innovation, if it is not inserted into a “system”, will not have the impact or effective durability in the social, environmental and economic ecosystem of the planet and will simply disappear.

The current hyperconnectivity of the Internet with the decentralization of processes, the democratization of knowledge, the demonetization of education and health have empowered society and the individual, so that innovations can be integrated more harmoniously, in addition to generating an economic benefit, they must reduce the social gap and regenerate the environment; Everything must change since only then what is innovated today will survive and have a positive impact for future generations.

The author is Professor Emeritus of the EGADE Business School of the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

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