Innovation can kick start real business growth

Innovation is the key aspect that drives the growth of the fourth industrial revolution which will define the way we interact with our world.

Let us focus on this for a second. Apple recently celebrated the 10th birthday of the iPhone, this was the first major step towards the use of smart phones which gave birth to the bring your own device phenomenon. This in turn drove the growth of social media and the way that we interact with the world around us.

Does this mean that we all need to have more money than Hitler had soldiers? Starting a company and inventing products costs major buck. The funny thing is that it does not mean that you have to be the Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne of the modern world, Apple CEO Tim Cook has unashamedly spoken in the past about how good Apple is in taking ideas that other people came up with and realising their vision. Innovation is not necessarily about merely thinking great ideas, it is about bringing products and services to the market in such a way that a person wants it and will pay for it.

Innovation is a major contributor to economic growth; and we don’t have to go far to find this, China and India are two examples of countries that realised the massive human capital that they had in their country. They merely harnessed that in a way where innovation has become part of economic policy. The government wants people in China and India to be innovative. What is the limit of this innovation? In the past five years, Alibaba – a company that merely exists on the internet and connects buyers and sellers to each other – has grown so much that its annual turnover is greater than the Gross Domestic Product of small African countries.

The tale of a rising giant

Let us focus on the Indian story in a bit more detail. While the rest of the world was spending wildly before the global financial crisis (GFC), India chose to focus on austerity measures. When the rest of the world felt the impact of the GFC, India quietly went about the business of getting its own house in order by focusing on innovation.

What is the result? India is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world. An article on the website of the Economic Times of India shows why the country is a major innovation hotspot.

Speaking to a reporter from the Economic Times on the sidelines of the ongoing annual partnership meet of Microsoft Inspire, Alyssa Fitzpatrick, General Manager of Microsoft’s Worldwide Channel Sales, said that some of great things have been happening in the Indian market from an innovation perspective.

She said that Microsoft was going to market with solution maps. “That is going to give us an opportunity to bring some of the innovation from India into those solution maps and really highlight information technology for the rest of the world’s consumption,” she said.

She added that India is a great place of innovation, Microsoft thinks there is a lot of opportunity in the Indian market to join together with Microsoft, as the company is going through fast paced transformation. “It will really provide opportunities to develop in our Cloud and produce in our Cloud, so that they can be sold globally in the Cloud,” she said.

Noting that it is a very exciting time in India, Fitzpatrick said it is because they have gone through the entire maturity of the Cloud, and starting to adopt the cloud.

**Dedicated foresight **

Fitzpatrick added that Microsoft absolutely sees a drive into India as a very, very positive journey. “Over the past decade and a half, seeing how India has really stepped up on the global stage from a technology innovation and technology development, point of view. This made sense. In addition there are major opportunities from a technology implementation prospective. And so, being able to collaborate is a very rich experience with Microsoft,” Fitzpatrick said.

Chris Hallum, Senior Product Marketing Manager Windows Commercial of Microsoft, said that the company was entering into the endpoint protection market with a complete holistic suite of protection detection and response tools to address the issue of cyber security.

“All with one experience for managing it and observing what is going on, the security operations perspective, we are seeing value. We are now a serious contender for endpoint protection,” Hallum said in an interview, “we call it intelligence driven protection detection response.”

Unlike others who are providing cyber security tools, Hallum said Microsoft has the unique advantage that the people that build the features at Windows are also chartered to understand security and chartered to secure them.

Across the great pond

Like India, Canada is also seeing the value in empowering innovation.

A recent article on betakit.com showed that Toronto is set to host Elevate Toronto, a new technology festival aimed at celebrating the city’s thriving tech ecosystem this September.

Leaders from Toronto’s innovation community and the city’s Mayor John Tory announced the festival at the CN Tower’s Horizon Restaurant. Elevate Toronto aims to showcase Toronto’s tech ecosystem and promote Toronto as a world-class destination for startups, innovation, talent, and investment.

“Toronto is an amazing city and is incredibly well positioned to capitalize on the current wave of emerging technology,” said Razor Suleman, co-founder and CEO of Elevate Toronto, “It is our time. Startups and corporate leaders are aligning with the government’s innovation agenda creating the perfect circumstances for accelerated growth.”

The nuts and bolts

Organizers said the festival will include a conference portion, where tech experts and leaders will give keynote addresses on growing sectors such as artificial intelligence, FinTech, and blockchain. The festival will also give attendees the opportunity to connect and exchange ideas with the startup community, potential investors, prospective employees, and strategic partners.

Organizers said Elevate Toronto will also tackle themes like diversity and inclusion in tech, as well as engage underrepresented members in the industry through discussions and activities.

“How do we engage the 17 leaders of this community to come together and create something not just for our local community but something for the world stage?” said Suleman, at the launch.

“How do we promote the amazing things happening in our ecosystem and brag about the successes we’ve had in Toronto? Promote our accomplishments…invite the world to come to our home and show them what a thriving innovation ecosystem that is diverse that is inclusive,” said Suleman.

At the end of the day, many countries talk a big game when it comes to innovation, yet they don’t deliver. Those who are serious about innovation reap rich rewards. The richest countries in the world invest in innovation and become richer. Can we afford to let this opportunity pass us by?