This Boston Globe article builds an argument that “innovation’s centre of gravity” is set to move further from developed nations and closer to poorer ones. It uses current examples of mobile technology innovations, until now unknown in the US & Europe, that are building a financial sector in areas of India populated by those living (until now) in a purely cash economy. These innovations are unlocking new services and stimulating the market. Big technology providers are taking notice and are reacting by moving research hubs into the developing world.
The article quotes:
“C.K. Prahalad, a business professor at the University of Michigan, has called [it] “the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” – the vast aggregate purchasing power locked away in the 4 billion people who make up the world’s poor… companies are confronting the unique challenge of making high-tech products cheaply enough to make a profit. In some cases, this means shifting jobs for talented designers and engineers to the developing world – not just to save labor costs, but in order to better understand the markets they are now trying to reach.
“Developing markets offer the best opportunity for global firms to discover what is likely to be ‘next practice,’ as contrasted with today’s best practice,” Prahalad has written. “The low end is a new source of innovation.””
The start of a reversed trend in TT flow?