The spread of innovation around the world can be very rapid, a new mobile phone with novel features will be available across the globe in a matter of months. There is a global market for innovation. That said, there are significant differences in markets around the world.
For example using mobile phones for banking is quite common in the UK, but is the norm in many African countries. Why? As several African countries never established good landline telephone networks, many areas have gone from no phones to mobile phones in a single leap and are better placed to exploit mobile banking as they are not encumbered with legacy technology.
After the fall of Communism, Russian Institutes set out to develop technology commercialisation processes. A colleague discovered that the Russians had developed “ultrasound welding” as a means to produce stress free welds, mainly in the construction of submarines. The technology was declassified and available for exploitation – the eventual licensee? The New Jersey Port Authority who are responsible for the bridges that lead into New York. The bridges were built in the 1930’s and were corroding; the option to replace sections with stress free welds was highly attractive.
Technology has been a significant part of international trade for hundreds of years. The Romans brought transport systems and water supply technology to much of Europe, the middle East and North Africa. European settlers brought steel tools and weapons to the peoples of the Americas. The Arabs introduces much medical technology and practice to the Mediterranean basin.
We live in an age when developed countries talk about the “knowledge based economy”. Many developing countries look to shift from economies based on commodities to an economic model based on the education and inventiveness of their citizens. Such countries have significant development programmes, for example Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Kazakhstan and Colombia.
So, technology trade is increasing, the number of competitors is rising, is this a threat or an opportunity? Probably both…, but is this the only answer? Increasingly technology, products and services are developed by teams. Product development teams frequently draw on other expertise from other countries to provide “specific materials, with specific properties,”, to provide the “control software” or to provide critical biochemical components. This is technology as trade. Nimble innovative companies source the critical parts of a product from different parts of the world, trading in innovation.
The tectonic plates of the Global economy are moving because of many factors; the shifting role of the USA, the growth of China, the stabilization of Africa and even Brexit. The current environment lends itself to those who are looking to trade internationally. Companies may be seeking new markets abroad, they may be looking to buy or license technology from other countries, with a much wider choice now even compared with ten years ago. The bigger prize however, is in collaboration, using contacts across the world to assemble the best technologies to deliver innovative products. In addition collaboration on innovation also introduces companies to new markets, starting their journey towards becoming global players.
The circus is moving, thrilling new audiences with its creativity. For those who are prepared to learn the high wire act the roar of the crowd is the approval from the market and a step towards an international presence.
MSC R&D has the experience and the contacts to help you develop and commercialise your innovation. Call us on 0144 230 8401