De vier ‘C’s’ van innovatie

PARIJS – Het wordt inmiddels breed geaccepteerd dat innovatie een voorwaarde is voor duurzame economische groei. Of de veranderingen nou zeer ontwrichtend zijn, of slechts zorgen voor periodieke verbeteringen van producten, services, of business modellen, de resultaten stimuleren de productiviteit van een economie op de lange termijn. En innovatie is niet alleen nodig voor ontwikkelde economieën, maar ook voor de opkomende markten die verminderde inkomsten ontvangen door het simpelweg overnemen van de beste toepassingen van de ontwikkelde economieën.

Clayton Christensen van de Harvard Business School heeft drie vormen van innovatie geïdentificeerd die bedrijven (en uiteindelijk economieën) sterker maken. Bedrijven kunnen periodieke veranderingen aan bestaande producten maken en hiermee competitiever worden in een bestaand marktsegment. Ze kunnen nieuwe producten introduceren zoals Sony’s iconische Walkman of Apple’s iPhone, die nieuwe marktsegmenten creëren. Of ze kunnen een product ontwikkelen, zoals elektriciteit, de auto, of een internet zoekmachine, dat zo ontwrichtend is dat het een gehele sector, of manier van zakendoen, achterhaald maakt.

De uitdaging voor overheden is om manieren te bedenken om bedrijven of individuen aan te moedigen om zich meer met dit soort innovatie bezig te houden om de economische groei te ondersteunen. Veel van de research op dit gebied, beïnvloed door het werk van Micheal Porter van Harvard, wordt gedomineerd door de ‘cluster studies’ die zich normaal concentreren op het verbeteren van de productiviteit in opkomende economieën en op regio’s binnen ontwikkelde economieën. Als resultaat hiervan is de focus van beleidsmakers de laatste twee decennia verschoven van het proberen te begrijpen van de z.g. Aziatische Tijgers naar het reproduceren van de succesvolle clusters van Silicon Valley, Bostons Route 128, Taiwans Hsinchu Park, Zuid-Korea’s Daedeok Science Town en Israëls Silicon Wadi.

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