Technology is ubiquitous in our daily lives. And it’s getting faster, smarter, smaller and cheaper every day. Products which were the subject of science fiction movies a decade ago are part of our daily lives today. But let’s take a step back to understand the phenomenon of technology development in the last century. The growth of the technology superpowers like the U.S. in the 20th century was driven by a combination of two factors:
1. Government Investments in Technology initiatives which created the base infrastructure (e.g. the computer, internet and global positioning system)
2. Private Enterprise where companies and entrepreneurs developed businesses by capitalizing on opportunities emerging from technology developments
Emerging markets including India will drive global economic growth in the 21st century. The unique challenges of emerging markets require dramatically different technologies and solutions.
The most elegant solutions happen at the confluence of multiple technologies – e.g. the steam engine was a triumph of thermodynamics and mechanics, while the band-aid combined the medicated gauze and adhesive tape to create a timeless product. The Apple iphone combined different technologies which were in existence to create a world-beating product. The capabilities which will define a “technology superpower” will be very different in this century and winning solutions will need to pass the 4A test.