K.White book

Innovation for Business: a 21st Century Development Model for Russia

Part IX

We continue discussing Russias new innovation economy, which can put Russia on a completely different development track. A key issue for an innovator eager to monetize his or her ideas is where the ideas can be applied.

A small world riddled with big problems

Two hundred years ago it took weeks to simply send a message from one part of the world to another. Today you can send an SMS between Beijing and NY with smiles and

info instantaneously. Our planet is now very small, and we can better understand it.

And not only is it small from a communication standpoint between two human beings. Things that are happening ecologically in one area of the planet have an impact on another. In the past, when information couldnt flow, people didnt know, for example, that a tsunami occurring in the Pacific had an impact elsewhere around the globe. Today we can watch it unravel on a real-time basis because information flow is transparent and instantaneous.

We must understand that there are many microeconomic, climatic and other problems that our small planet faces, which we cannot solve alone as individuals or countries. We have to work together in a collaborative manner, to bring the brightest minds of the world.

Among major problems are waste disposal, global warming, water purification, diseases, wars, scarce resources, food production, genetic disorders, etc. There are richer parts of the world, and there are poorer parts of the world. As a species we should begin to look at how we can raise our level on this planet. If were rich in natural resources, or in intellectual creativity, we should apply that knowledge and that wealth to solving the above problems.

Theres no lack of riddles to riddle. The key thing is to look at your technology, your science and innovation that youre developing and understand where its applicable on this planet.

See where your science fits best

You should break down problems into specific categories. You can look at human problems, such as pandemic diseases, the search for longevity, reduction of the process of ageing, hunger, malnutrition, population growth, demographic issues.

You can look at global problems such as lack of pure water, waste disposal, agricultural output, limited resources, global warming.

As our planet gets more and more consumer-oriented, as the emerging markets grow, populations swell, liquidity increases, people buy more products; we have more wastes to dispose of, more plastics, batteries, chemicals, acids. What do we do with these things? We cannot as a species continue to accumulate these types of waste products and just dispose of them into the ocean or rivers or landfills. We need to think of new ways to dispose of those products without harming the environment. So this is a major area where people can apply their scientific innovations.

If we look at economic problems, these are efficiency, industrial productivity, cost controls, resource allocations, infrastructure development, etc.

Everywhere in the world where human beings exist they have the desire to consume products. They can see on television what other people in other countries consume and they want to have the same things. Theres a constant requirement to expand our logistical and distribution presence on the planet, which necessitates ever-improving ways of transporting products, whether by rail or road or ship or air.

Look at the problems of just the quality of life. We have a number of systemic issues that revolve around the type of political systems, religious systems within we guide ourselves. As any particular society improves its quality of life, it wants to have a higher meaning of life.

This is related to space travel, for example. What is the meaning of our species on this planet? Should we try and travel to Mars? Should we do another expedition to the Moon? Talking about the quality of life, we also talk about aesthetics, entertainment, communication, education.

There are many human beings that dont have the benefit of sight, or hearing, or mobility, but they are also people on this planet and they want to improve their lives. Maybe, its very interesting for them to get connected through the Internet and live in virtual worlds where they could run and jump as any other.

Your particular science or innovation may deal with any of these things: interplanetary travel, communication, etc. There are lots of issues that can drive us, lots of avenues to channel your energy. As an innovator you need to think who needs your innovation, and where it is applicable.

5 Oct '10

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