The Golden Age of Innovation is yet to come

By Adam Bates, Head of Foresight and Innovation at KPMG in the UK

Philip Delves Broughton’s article in the Financial Times “Another tech bubble is set to deflate” questions how many ‘big new ideas’ are left out there which can be commercialised to scale and suggests that ‘Silicon Valley as we know it may be coming to an end’.


Contrary to the author’s opinion I believe that in the next decade we are set to enjoy a golden age of new ideas that will transform the lives of many.  Why? A few pointers:


First, the internet allows billions of people to share ideas and learn in ways that never existed before.  Whether by social media, lifting current restrictions and making all scientific research available to everyone for nothing or making university courses available online to anyone who wants to learn.


Secondly, the internet, mobile and cloud are creating many new business models.  Whether the race for a standard mobile payments system, businesses making sense and money out of the sentiment on Twitter or connecting the old retail high street with the digital world; the opportunities are endless. 


Arthur C Clark once said “If we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run – and often in the short one – the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative”.  In 1970 I was 10 years old, the idea of a computer was beyond my ability to dream.  Today most of us cannot imagine what will be available in 10 years time. 


The opportunities are immense for those companies with agility, the courage to challenge perceived wisdom and willing to look beyond a one or three year business plan.  Of course, those that do not will ultimately fail, like the company that made my Father’s Morris Minor motor car.


A version of this article originally appeared as a letter in the Financial Times

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