This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: ProFile 2 UNIT 8 Innovation
Investing in innovation is essential for
inventions and ideas to find their commercial
application. An initial breakthrough will
enable other, often unimaginable
developments to occur elsewhere. For instance,
the first industrial revolution was built around
steam. Newcomen’s steam engine meant that
water from mines could be pumped out more
easily, allowing coal to be dug at greater
depths. It also was the spur to the development
of other steam-driven machines, which
ushered in the industrial revolution. The steam
engine eventually evolved to develop
locomotives, which in turn allowed cities to
develop far-flung suburbs and commuters.
IT COMES IN WAVES
Innovation tends to come in waves. We could
say that the second industrial revolution was
built around electricity and its applications.
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb,
founded General Electric, which is still a
byword for innovation. With electricity came
labour-saving devices such as the vacuum
cleaner and washing machines. In the late
1960s it was the development of new plastics
and polymers which allowed a whole new wave
of innovation to occur.
Nokia is the paramount example of how a firm
– under CEO Jorma Ollila – can re-invent
itself through innovation to rise with these
waves, particularly with their conquest of the
mobile phone handset market. The company
itself was originally founded in 1865 working
in forestry industries, but has evolved through
continuous innovation to the market leader
status it enjoys today. See the ProFile Student’s site: www.oup.com/elt/profile SMART IDEAS
Innovation often occurs as the result of seeing
through a simple idea using existing
technology. Mr Ibuka of Sony wanted to be
able to listen to music while he was out
walking or travelling on planes – and so the
Walkman was born. Sony has long been
famous for its innovation. Its co-founder Mr
Morita is famously quoted as saying ‘The
public does not know what is possible. We do’.
The technology was there already: all Sony had
to do was apply it. Dyson’s inspiration for the
dual cyclone cleaner came from remembering
a visit to a saw mill which employed
centrifugal force to clear dust from the air.
Research and development is important for
developed economies if they are to stay ahead
of their labour-rich rivals. This know-how
provides the comparative advantage which can
be translated into a competitive edge. High
technology industries tend to cluster around
universities and centres of research excellence.
Most innovations start out based on the
research carried out in laboratories or
MONEY AND BUSINESS
Venture capitalist organizations and
individuals are essential to the growth of many
new high-tech companies. 3i is an example of a
venture capital organization. Not only do these
companies provide investment, but also the
necessary advice and business know-how
companies with bright ideas need to succeed.
Genius may be more perspiration than
inspiration, but a little money goes a long way
too! Photocopiable © Oxford University Press ...
View Full Document
- Spring '10