¿El valle del silicio o la montaña de la demanda?

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON – Todos quieren saber cómo construir el próximo Silicon Valley: el valle del silicio, un centro de innovación que atraiga talento y capital, cree empleo, empresas e incluso sectores completamente nuevos. Los gobiernos de los países desarrollados buscan subsidiar tecnologías que podrían ser el Próximo Gran Éxito. Los responsables de políticas en los mercados emergentes esperan que las exenciones impositivas y los terrenos gratuitos induzcan a los innovadores a afincarse y prosperar allí. Pero a la mayoría de estos esquemas bienintencionados les falta un ingrediente esencial: la demanda.

La demanda de innovación en áreas específicas de tecnología ha sido el impulso común a todos los centros tecnológicos exitosos y las invenciones más importantes. Los grandes avances tecnológicos, como los antibióticos y los automóviles respondieron a la necesidad imperiosa de una gran cantidad de consumidores. Los proyectos gubernamentales, como el programa Apolo de Estados Unidos –para llevar al hombre a la luna– impulsaron la demanda de tecnologías más básicas (que son simplemente invenciones que nadie ha solicitado aún).

El propio Silicon Valley se construyó a partir de la demanda. El Departamento de Defensa de EE. UU. aportó decenas de miles de millones de dólares en contratos para microelectrónica, un compromiso que pagó los riesgos de los innovadores y simultáneamente creó una infraestructura que permitiría el crecimiento de las nuevas empresas.

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