Las cuatro “C” de la innovación

PARÍS – Hoy en día prácticamente todo el mundo está de acuerdo en que la innovación es una de las bases fundamentales de un crecimiento económico sostenible. Los resultados a los que da pie son un impulso importante para la productividad de largo plazo de una economía, ya sea en la forma de cambios abruptos o como avances graduales de productos, servicios y modelos de negocio. Además, la innovación es necesaria no solo para las economías desarrolladas, sino también para los mercados emergentes, que cada vez se benefician menos con simplemente imitar las mejores prácticas de las economías desarrolladas. Pero, si bien todo país necesita innovar, no en todos los mercados funcionan los enfoques más exitosos.

Clayton Christensen de la Escuela de Negocios de Harvard identifica tres formas generales de innovación que fortalecen a las empresas (y, por ende, a las economías): pueden ir haciendo cambios graduales a productos que ya existen, ganando en competitividad en segmentos de mercado que ya poseen. También pueden lanzar productos, como el emblemático Walkman de Sony o el iPhone de Apple, que crean nuevos segmentos de mercado o desarrollar uno (como la electricidad, el automóvil o un motor de búsqueda de Internet) que represente un avance tan radical que vuelve prácticamente obsoleto a todo un sector o modo de hacer negocios.

El reto para los gobiernos es encontrar formas de estimular a personas o empresas de manera que desarrollen tipos de innovación que apuntalen el crecimiento económico. Gran parte de la investigación en este ámbito está marcada por la influencia de Michael Porter, de Harvard, y sus “estudios de clústeres”, que por lo general se centran en mejorar la productividad en economías emergentes y regiones de economías avanzadas donde hay un potencial de desarrollo desaprovechado. Como resultado, en las últimas dos décadas la atención de los encargados de diseñar políticas ha pasado de tratar de comprender los llamados “tigres” de Asia a recrear los clústeres exitosos de Silicon Valley, la Route 128 de Boston, el Hsinchu Park de Taiwán, la Daedeok Science Town de Corea del Sur y el Silicon Wadi de Israel.

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