Ever since Christopher Columbus discovered America, Europe became “old”. For centuries, the so called first world has lead in every single industry we can think of. However, as time went by powerhouses like the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have awakened and challenged the supremacy of Europe.
Today, the world balance moves between the US, “Chindia”, UK or the EU. Also, small players like Dubai, Japan or Singapore have risen to change the way we work and most importantly, the way we innovate. Come to think about it, small countries have created technologies and products we can't live without:
- Sweden: Spotify
- Denmark: Lego
- Austria:Red Bull
- Japan: Sony
- Hong Kong: Samsung
- Netherlands: Shell
However, coming up with a sustainable advantage or create actual solutions to problems we’ve had for years, is far from easy, and the UK is a good example.
From inventing the TV (John Logie Baird, 1925), the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee, 1989) to the Mini (Alec Issigonis, 1959) the UK has been synonymous with greatness and cutting edge thinking. Somehow, the european giant has managed to remain relevant and competitive.
Its growth was sustained mostly on 6 key pillars the UK foresaw before the rest of the world :
- Joint forces. England and Scotland worked together in order to have peace and stability.
- Once they did this, they eliminated all trade barriers.
- Enforcing property rights and respecting contracts
- A clear legal system that facilitated the formation of joint-stock companies
- No more tolls (something that was still common in many other countries)
- Free market
During those years Britain lead in textiles, metallurgy, steam power, chemical, transportation and machine tools. However -during the XX century- the automotive industry shifted the power to the US, leaving Britain behind. Today, with a world that is hyperconnected and dynamic, the UK once again rises as a superpower for many key industries such as science, technology and engineering.
Even though it only represents 0.9% of the world’s population, UK enjoys 3.2% of the world’s R&D expenditure in universities and in businesses (source).
Inspiration comes naturally in a city like London, where diversity is everywhere, creativity thrives and people from all ages work on solving our most urgent challenges.
In this series I plan to explore industries, their challenges and how open innovation is creating solutions that in most cases, are absolutely out of the box.
All the ideas and cases are taken by our series of events at HackerEarth, working with 500 Fortune companies, startups or the best universities across industries and geographies.