Why developing countries should be concerned about innovation?

I have recently read an article from the Fast Company¹ magazine edition of March. It was about the 50 most innovative companies of 2017 and what can we learn from them. It is not a surprise that most of those companies were born in developed countries as it has ever been. So is it normal to underdeveloped countries to have no innovator companies? Does it matter?

Everybody knows that creating something new could bring us economical benefits, however, until this day less developed countries like Latin American and African ones have managed to create value with industrial and extractive activities, without needing innovation, at least to maintain their non-developed nation lifestyle. Nevertheless, this situation cannot continue to be like this.

Nowadays innovation is the main strategy that companies have to approach their potential consumers.

Photo from Freepik

At one time, lifestyle was a set of mores and traditions shared by a culture and it used to last as much time as the culture survived, when humankind began to grow, communities were able to be influenced by other communities, and lifestyle lasted less and less as human population became bigger and bigger. With globalization, most of the world began to share more or less the same culture and lifestyles changed between generations. Today our lifestyles are mainly defined by trends and these trends are constantly changing, so there is no an unique lifestyle, instead there are social groups that follow some trends and change constantly the way to do something.

So today’s lifestyle is mostly defined by trends, and according to the Fast Company¹ magazine, youth is the main factor who defines what trends are adopted by society. By watching around us it is not difficult to notice where are trends moving to; most new successful products are innovative digital services that are first adopted by youngs and later become a daily life paradigm.

According to Andras Horvai, Country Director and Resident Representative of the World Bank in Russia:

“ Information technologies permeate our life, and have tremendous potential when strengthening development. “

Despite there are a lot of companies that have early reached the hopeful field of digital communications, Fast Company¹ show the truth that experience has taught us: Is not enough to create innovation once, big leaders like Google, which remain being one of the most innovative (and rewarding) companies of the world, are ever researching and creating new ways to satisfy user’s needs, companies that are not constantly changing are displaced by new ones, so digital market is constantly changing and adopting new products. Digital users are always looking for new concepts to give their money to, and they always give it to the most innovative one.

So, nowadays innovation is NOT a plus or a competitive advantage between companies, modern companies do NEED innovation to reach their potential markets, perhaps today not all fields are concerned about innovation, but initiatives like The Farmer Network show us that the scope of digital innovation is getting wider through time.

In conclusion, modern society sets new paradigms of consumption to the economy, companies in developing countries can take advantage of those new paradigms, not only to overcome their lag, but to look for equality opportunities.

¹Safian, Robert (2017, February). Lessons of innovation for 2017. Fast Company, 18–19.