It is estimated that there were over 12,000 articles and media stories published over the last year on additive manufacturing, more popularly known as “3D printing”. This topic has been discussed at many of the industry events, client meetings, and strategy sessions that I attend across the globe. While additive manufacturing has recently been a topic of growing interest, the technology has evolved over the last three decades. I wanted to highlight additive manufacturing as it is likely that we are only just seeing the beginning of the potential that this and other advance manufacturing technologies can bring to manufacturers’ innovation and growth strategies.
Continue reading "Is the next manufacturing revolution here?" »
According to the United Nations, economies with the fastest growing global value chain (GVC) participation “have GDP per capita growth rates some 2 percentage points above the average.”1 Much of the remarkable growth in Asia is attributable to this ability to participate in GVCs. The Philippines, where the World Economic Forum on East Asia is opening today, may very well be the next example of this success.
With a 7.2 percent growth rate in GDP in 20132, the Philippines possesses many of the traits needed to move up the global value chain. Not only does it have a stable macro-economic environment, but the country also has a emerging services sector, particularly in business process outsourcing (BPO)—services like call centers and IT that are often outsourced from developed economies. The BPO market in the Philippines now accounts for 9.5 percent of the worldwide market, with metro Manila the second-largest global outsourcing destination.3 And more than 50 percent of the Philippines’ overall GDP value-add is contributed by services.4
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Recently, the Nigerian government announced new GDP numbers that now make it the largest economy in Africa. Having overhauled economic data for the first time in two decades, the GDP figure rose by 89 percent from 2003 to 2010. It’s a number that caught the attention of the world and was much discussed at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, held last week in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.
But is GDP really the best measure of success? If you listened to the debate at WEF, the answer is, probably not. Because when you look behind a remarkable number like that, you can see there are many factors not addressed by this figure—factors that provide clues as to how the economy is really unfolding and how it is impacting quality of life.
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A few months ago, after Summer Davos, I wrote and spoke about China’s new commitment to innovation. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in his opening address had talked of holding the banner of innovation high and the reforms his government were proposing to achieve that goal. I stated at the time that I was cautiously optimistic about the potential these reforms held.
Just recently, I again had the chance to discuss China and innovation, this time on a panel hosted by the Asia Society in New York City. With the session focused on China’s growing investment in U.S. high-tech companies, inevitably the question of innovation came up—and if these Chinese companies were looking to U.S. acquisitions to help build a culture of innovation at home. Innovation remains a challenge in China, with issues from lax enforcement of intellectual property laws to the difficulty of starting a business contributing factors. Moreover, questions have been raised about whether China’s educational system encourages the kind of creative thinking that generates innovation.
Continue reading "Cautiously optimistic: Innovation and Chinese FDI " »
Building innovation is one of those hot topics that yield all sorts of discussion about disruptive technology—the cloud, 3-D printing, social media, digital infrastructure, et cetera. But what spurs innovation may come down to something much more basic: talent. And at the World Economic Forum on Latin America (WEF LATAM) last week, it was clear that participants from this region agree.
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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to return once again to Japan to visit with a number of Deloitte Japan manufacturing clients. One of the many highlights of my trip this month was the opportunity to meet with several manufacturers in Nagoya. Japanese manufacturers have been long admired by many for a relentless focus on continuous improvements to their business. So it is not surprising that during my visit we had rich discussions around best practices of leading manufacturers to sustain top performance.
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According to the competitiveness index produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF), “innovation-driven economies” is the third and highest stage of development. Many Latin American countries are now poised to make the transition to this stage. Most of the remaining countries are only a step or two behind.
But how does an economy become innovative-driven? One way is by promoting innovation-driven entrepreneurship. That’s the focus of a panel I will be participating in this week at WEF on Latin America in Panama City. Entitled “Innovating for Competitiveness,” the session will explore what steps the region can take to promote not just entrepreneurship but the innovative new businesses that propel an economy into that sought-after “stage three.”
Continue reading "WEF on Latin America: Getting there from here" »
This article was co-written with Erik Classon
Since the term, ‘impact investing,’ was first coined in 2009 by the Monitor Group ("Investing for Social & Environmental Impact: A design for catalyzing an emerging industry"), a great deal of interest has grown around this concept. Initially the dialogue around impact investing was concentrated among a niche set of players identifying themselves as impact investors (e.g., social entrepreneurs, foundations seeking to expand beyond grant-making, focused impact investing funds and public sector/supranational organizations).
Continue reading "Impact investing: An investment approach starting to interest mainstream investors" »
With economic recovery seeming to finally take hold this year, I was not surprised that many of the Davos 2014 speakers sounded a positive note for the future. Nowhere was this more evident than in the remarks from country leaders. But these leaders understood that there is still a lot of work to be done—and it was striking how in sync they were when it came to the challenge going forward: building and sustaining growth.
South Korea is focusing on entrepreneurship and building a “creative economy,” where individuals are encouraged to start businesses and put “innovation into action,” according to President Park Geun-hye. Similarly, Liberia is making strategic investments in education and focusing on public-private partnerships to spur the rise of small and medium businesses. Mexico is working to promote start-ups by reforming fiscal policies to allow greater access to credit.
Continue reading "Davos 2014: Optimism with a healthy dose of reality" »