In 2011, Portugal was hit by a severe economic crisis and the government needed an international bailout of $103 billion for austerity measures. The effects of this crisis are still relevant to this day as the unemployment rate in Portugal just rose to 14.1%. Simply put, this has been the worst recession for the Portuguese economy in more than 40 years. Now an important question remains unanswered—as a nation and a workforce, how do you recover from this economic hardship?
globalEDGE Blog - By Tag: innovation
As technology continues to grow and change throughout the world, the way consumers pay for their products is also changing. Consumers are using credit and debit cards at an increasing rate compared to cash, even with small purchases less than $5. According to a survey, one third of American consumers said that they usually pay for purchases under $5 with a card rather than cash. Even more surprising, 51% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 reported that they prefer to use a card when dealing with transactions under $5.
On July 18, the seventh annual Global Innovation Index (GII) was released at the B20 Australia Summit in Sydney. This year, the report's theme dealt with the Human Factor in Innovation, referring to the role that people play in the overall innovative success of different countries. While Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden topped the list, a significant change was seen: nations in the region of Sub-Saharan Africa showed the most overall improvement on the list. Seventeen African nations, including Mauritius, Seychelles, and South Africa, jumped up in the rankings by several placings. Sub-Saharan Africa has already seen great strides in economic growth and freedom, and this new development spells good news for Africa and its future.
In an increasingly competitive business world, continuous technological advancements are providing businesses with more opportunities to get ahead of the curve. Specifically, geo-location is starting to become a big asset in helping businesses grow by giving them greater market reach. Successful businesses can only grow if they strategize to meet consumer demands that require services to be fast, reliable and relevant. Geo-location is able to fulfill this criterion because of the wide use of phones, tablets, and computers, but the collection of this sensitive data also pressures businesses to be cautious in their approach.
A big topic in business today is the evolution of the new digital world. It is vital to businesses that want to continue being successful to recognize and adapt to the new trends. Companies will either take flight in the new age or dwindle and faze out. This holds true for nearly every industry as global business has become technologically advanced.
When naming the most innovative place in the world, Silicon Valley of the United States is usually everyone’s first response. However, that might not hold true in Europe. The tech-savvy country of Estonia is proving to be an important focal point for entrepreneurship and innovation. Right on the edge of Europe, Estonia has a total population of just 1.3 million. Estonia may be considered an extremely small country, but in terms of technology and innovation, it’s a giant.
Latin America is filled with a myriad of natural resources, and for generations many Latin American countries relied on exporting these endowments for their wealth. However, the tides are beginning to change in Latin America. For the first time in history, a large number of Latin Americans are choosing to be entrepreneurs. In 2010, just 2.6% of the world’s applications for patent registration were filed in Latin America. With the new surge of entrepreneurship in the region, expect that number to change.
In 2012 alone, piracy in Somalia cost shipping companies $6 billion. Teresa Stevens and her husband have come up with a product that aims to make it a lot more difficult for pirates to board ships. The product is called the Guardian Anti-Piracy Barrier. It is a simply-designed plastic barrier which fits over the rails of a ship and makes it nearly impossible for pirates to board ships using ladders or grappling hooks. This invention has the potential to lead to huge cost savings for global shipping companies and have a positive impact on neighboring African countries’ economies.
As the world continues to integrate the globe becomes more interconnected with complex supply chain systems. This becomes even more important now that countries are becoming evermore specialized in one industry or another. An interesting development where countries are specializing is in the arena of patents.
Silicon Valley has always been considered the Mecca of tech start-ups. Why Silicon Valley? Countries have been asking themselves this for years as the insistence on replicating the success of Silicon Valley becomes ever more alluring. Many have tried to replicate Silicon Valley but that has proven to be a herculean task. France, Norway and Malaysia have attempted to create an entrepreneurial rival but to no avail. There is no doubt that one of the keys to success is the relative ease with which a company is able to be started in the United States compared to the rest of the world and also the sheer amount of capital surrounding Silicon Valley makes access to funds easy but these strategies alone cannot explain why northern California has excelled, for many countries have duplicated these methods.
Identifying intercontinental and cross-cultural opportunities and weaving them into unique profit-building innovations can be a daunting task for a small start-up, especially when a high cost-risk ratio is factored. Michigan State University offers a multitude of resources for global entrepreneurs for understanding how to tackle the most common roadblocks: market commonality/divergence recognition, foreign economy entrance, and network access for concrete business-services platform.
How to encourage entrepreneurship? This is a question many universities, cities, states and nations ask themselves on an almost daily basis. The notion of entrepreneurship is a romantic one. Those who begin ventures in a dorm room or garage and achieve success are universally beloved – look no further than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. The secret formula to release and cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit has long been debated. Could failure actually be a cause?
Starting a business is not an easy task. It’s one that takes hard work, dedication, and an entrepreneurial spirit that is willing to take on challenges. Despite the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs, starting a business has become easier in certain parts of the world as policymakers begin to recognize the importance of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial activities are extremely crucial for the economic well-being of almost every country. As the driving force of innovation and job creation, entrepreneurship has taken on a new level of significance in the global economy. However, certain countries lag behind others in terms of entrepreneurial activities. Differences in culture and business climate are the major factors affecting the level of entrepreneurship within a country.
For some, eating insects may seem unappetizing and unappealing, but it is estimated that 2.5 billion people worldwide eat insects on a regular basis. Students from McGill University in Montreal, Canada believe they have come up with a solution to cut down on global poverty and hunger. It involves distributing cricket-producing kits to impoverished populations around the world that will give these people a source of protein and potentially a source of income as well. Simply, families could eat what they want and then sell the rest.
A recent report by the Consumer Electronics Association has projected that global gadget spending on electronics will surpass $1.1 trillion in 2013. This study comes days before the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the world’s largest technology-related trade shows. What new innovations will the CES 2013 reveal and how will it impact the global economy?
The Dreamforce Expo kicked off this week with a rumored 90,000 attendees from 150 countries there. Sponsored by Salesforce.com, the purpose of this expo is to help businesses around the world realize the power of cloud computing. Cloud computing uses the internet to host data and provide information and services effortlessly to consumers. While cloud computing is not a new idea, the big revelation from Dreamforce is how important social media is going forward.
In a continent where the Internet is scarcely available, computers are often too expensive to buy, and online business transactions can be extremely complicated to conduct, Africa is experiencing an upwelling in mobile phone use as a means of sharing information and doing business. Of the 695 million current mobile phone subscribers in Africa, the vast majority of this demographic does not belong to the middle and upper class, where e-commerce is commonly conducted on computers. According to Primedia Online business development manager Susan Hansford, many mobile phone subscribers still live in small, remote villages, where advertising high-priced consumer goods would make little to no sense. Stemming from these circumstances, Africa has since provided innovators and investors the unique opportunity of reaching millions through markets based around mobile phone use.
As the human population grows and environmental complexities become more widespread, social responsibility and the fight against climate change have become major issues for businesses across the globe. Many companies are beginning to implement sustainable business practices to combat climate change and mitigate harmful emissions. You may be wondering what businesses around the world are at the top of the list in developing environmentally friendly business operations. Look no further, because a United Kingdom research company has just released rankings that track how large global companies are mitigating climate change and creating clean technology solutions.
Politicians in Estonia, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, began to realize how computers could positively impact a country with a very small workforce and a general lack of physical infrastructure. For the next twenty years, Estonia concentrated on using the internet to transform its government, economy, and society in general. Today, Estonians can do just about anything electronically. Citizens can pay for bus tickets and parking via text, vote in elections from a laptop, or even sign legal documents from a smart phone.
No. Well, at least not for a while, according to Xu Xiaoping. Xu ranks among China’s most prominent angel investors. He is also CEO of a NYSE-listed education company called New Oriental Group that helps prepare people from China to study overseas. There are many reasons why innovation has been lacking in China. Many of these reasons deal with cultural differences in comparison to other countries, where innovation is encouraged and embraced.
Recently, Novozymes, a company that makes enzymes used to make goods such as household detergents and soft drinks, announced that it has developed an enzyme that will make it possible to derive cellulosic ethanol from waste material like household trash or corn husks. This company has discovered something that has been sought after by many clean energy producers- a way to inexpensively convert biowaste into fuel. Novozymes officially announced its new enzyme, Cellic CTec3, February 22, 2012, and already has deals in place to begin supplying it.
Entrepreneurship is risky. Entrepreneurship is for the naïve. Entrepreneurship rarely succeeds. All of these assumptions make entrepreneurship sound like a bleak place only for the most risk-averse; the de facto position from many people is that corporate life is the way to go. But this conventional position is far from true. Building new companies is far more sensible than one may think.
Online shopping is being used in many countries around the world and its use is becoming more widespread each year. In emerging countries such as India, the e-commerce market is growing rapidly with over three thousand e-commerce centers found online. Recently, businesses in South Korea have taken online shopping to the next level by allowing people to shop in virtual supermarkets with their smartphone.
With increased awareness of environmental change in today’s business world, more and more companies are looking for innovative resources to reduce their “footprint” in any way possible. Some have started cutting down on packaging; others have redesigned their containers with recycled material. Certain companies are one step ahead of these methods and have turned to agricultural products to eliminate packaging wastes.
Nowadays many companies are becoming more environmentally conscious and are looking for new business practices that support sustainability. A company called Neutral Fuels in the United Arab Emirates has developed an innovating process that promotes sustainable development while also generating a healthy profit. Neutral Fuels converts used vegetable and cooking oil from local fast food restaurants to biodiesel so that it can be used to fuel trucks. This waste conversion process has had a tremendous impact on the environment and oil production in the United Arab Emirates.
Most African economies are known for their valuable commodities like oil, copper, and gas. But as of late, countries in Africa are adding a new focus to their economies with technology innovation. Countries throughout the continent have acknowledged technology as a key component in the battle to boost prosperity. This has sparked a technology revolution in a continent with high ambitions.
During the cold winter months, businesses use an enormous amount of energy to heat their working facilities. With soaring energy prices around the globe, businesses are looking for ways to save energy to reduce these high energy costs. A company in Sweden has found an exceptional way to do just this. Sweden’s creative approach to heating might just surprise you.
London has always been well-known internationally for its historical and cultural importance. In recent years the city has also developed into a significant force in the technological sector. Innovative businesses were completely absent from London’s economy back in the year 2000, but the roughly 100 new high-tech businesses in east London have received international attention for their significant contributions to global business. While far from reaching the level of California’s Silicon Valley, the so-called “Silicon Roundabout” is joining cities such as Boston and Tel Aviv in the second-tier of global innovative centers.
Continuous innovation is essential for companies to remain competitive in any industry. Businesses refusing to adapt to product and process improvements have quickly been left in the dust by competitors. Stability in business is based on the ability of management to consistently and effectively adapt to changes in the external business environment.
In collaborative partnerships, suppliers and customers work jointly to develop products that will be popular on the open market. A recent article published by Michael Schrage in the Harvard Business Review shed some light on how to develop partnerships that are conducive to effective collaboration.
The Irish love to own their own property and home. In the past 20 years, the value of their homes had for the most part increased dramatically, creating a solid investment in something the Irish cherish greatly. In the past year however it’s been a different story, the bubble finally burst. Most of the property values have been cut in half. Many are now owned by banks, and most toxic loans are bundled into a nationalized body called the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). The government bought out many banks to a tune of 50 billion euro. The bond market in Ireland is in major trouble. Many experts are saying there is a huge need for leadership in not only Ireland’s government, but in Europe as a whole (or the European system may possibly collapse).
The lore of leaving is engrained in the Irish culture. There were 27,700 emigrants this year, an increase of 42%, due in part to unemployment being at 13.7%. In the short run, emigration is just a safety valve. However there is still hope in Ireland. Watch the video to see how George Boyle dealt with her company going bankrupt, and how she stimulated her own micro economy of sorts.
India, being known as a country inclined to new technology, has added yet another innovation to its inventory—a talking newspaper advertisement. When readers opened to the last page of a popular Indian newspaper, a voice began to talk resembling a radio commercial. The source for this surprising advertisement was a light-sensitive, voice activated chip that encouraged readers and listeners alike to buy a new Volkswagen sedan. Weighing only one ounce, this paper-thin chip is a groundbreaking design. This “talking newspaper” can change the way print media is viewed and provides businesses a new way to communicate their messages with customers.
Hospitals today are fast-paced, frenzied places. The goal, of course, is to get health care to as many people as possible. Hospitals around the world suffer similar problems in that they often have too much health care to administer, and not enough adequate facilities with which to do so. Furthermore, the types of health care that need to be administered are evolving as well, leaving many places with outdated or ineffective facilities with which to handle them. However, the Compass system seeks to alleviate some of these problems.
A nation's basic system of transportation, communication, building and maintaining road, bridge, sewage, and electrical systems provides millions of jobs nationwide. For developing countries, building an infrastructure is a first step in economic development. It is needed for a country to be efficient and productive. Without a good infrastructure in a country, an economy cannot thrive. Businesses cannot grow and be competitive with similar firms elsewhere.
KPMG recently released a report called "The Infrastructure 100," which displays the most exciting infrastructure projects from around the world, as selected by independent judging panels due to their scale, complexity, innovation and impact on society. This is a showcase of the most interesting infrastructure projects from around the world. There are different categories from water, power, renewable energy, rail, roads and education among others.
Poultry farmers all over the globe are running into serious problems with the waste from chickens, which is real trouble when it gets into the water supply. Years back John Logan, a farmer from Prentiss, Mississippi, noticed the same problem. In an interview with NPR radio he recalled, "I said, 'I got to do something.' I can't be putting this on the ground. Now, I have a river right here. What's to happen when that phosphorus overload washes into the river, which then ends up in the Gulf of Mexico?"
Is “off-grid” the new “on-grid”? Bloom Energy thinks so. The company is a start-up based in Silicon Valley, California and it claims to have found a solution to both reducing harmful byproducts and providing energy at lower costs than the current average market rate. Their compact power plants are run on everyday elements such as oxygen and can be as small as a lunchbox.
Many companies launch a new product and enjoy high sales if the product is successful, but somewhere along the line they forget that it will not be as profitable infinitely. The business world today is extremely competitive, especially since there are many products that differentiate very slightly from each other. Therefore, spending some time to think on possible ways to improve a product should constantly be on the daily agenda.
One of the quirkier tools used to examine the Purchasing Power Parity between two currencies has been the Big Mac hamburger, responsible for being the basis of The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which compares the price of Big Mac hamburgers in each country. It may be difficult, however, to apply the Big Mac index to Iceland’s króna, as the hamburger giant has pulled out of the country. Don’t pity Iceland, however. Fast Company’s Robert Walcott and Michael Lippitz visited Iceland in December, and are quite optimistic regarding its potential.
The global impact of our individual actions in society today is more than most of us know. The reach a single person can have has grown exponentially with the advent of the Internet and accompanying decrease in technology costs. The question becomes, how have people used this historical improvement in our ability to communicate across the world? One professor from the University of Oxford began inventing solutions for the less privileged people of the world. His idea began with the concept of user-adjustable spectacles. Check out a demo of his invention:
Professor and author C. K. Prahalad explores how General Electric took a local innovation in the healthcare industry, one designed to help those in the poorest and most remote villages in India and China, and turned it into a global, game-changing product. In his book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, he argues that this is no anomaly, but rather the future of innovation.
The aim of reaching a broader market with the EKG turned into a more efficient, cost-friendly product. Should companies be taking more of a look at developing innovative products to help the rural poor? Could these innovations spread to the global market as well?
The current recession has impacted almost every sector of the economy, and hamburgers are no exception. In an environment where top quality matched with most appealing prices is the key to success, many restaurants are re-thinking their menus by including and re-imagining what the burger should be. Therefore, top chefs around the world are viewing the burger as the latest test of their culinary skills and ingenuity. Also, in some restaurants, the quality of their burger is what decides the ultimate fate of the restaurant, especially in these uncertain times.
Creativity is always an important factor when deciding where to do business, especially if you are an innovator with a novel idea, looking for a receptive market. If you want a concise listing of one publication's opinion on the matter, check out Fast Company's slideshow: "The 13 Most Creative Cities in the World". They are a little heavy on cities in the US, but oddballs like Malmo, Sweden keep the list interesting. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Seattle is apparently the most creative city of the year.
A couple of days ago we posted a video on the importance of innovation, but it left me wondering: who's best at it?
Luckily, a survey done by the Boston Consulting Group, working with the National Association of Manufacturers' Manufacturing Institute, seeks to answer just that question. They rank the top 30 most innovation-friendly countries on the basis of government policy and real business results.
Innovation is extremely important in the competitive global business world we live in. Therefore, it significant for business graduates from any university in the world to master this skill. The following video is an interview with Dean Tom Campbell of the Haas School of Business on the importance of innovation and the steps the school has taken to ensure that its graduates obtain the skill to develop strategies for outstanding business ideas.
A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group which measures the government policies and corporate performance most encouraging to innovation has Singapore as the number one global leader of innovation, followed by South Korea at number two. Former innovation leaders from the west such as the United States and Germany dropped to numbers eight and nineteen, respectively. What exactly has contributed to this?