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New ways of seeing.

Innovation Trends 2018 - The 4th Industrial Revolution

(Taken from a lecture that I gave recently— if you don’t want to read you can scroll down to a video at the bottom of this post!).

Innovations tend to be overestimated in the short run, and underestimated in the long run.

This goes on every year. However I’m here to tell you that the change going on in 2018 isn’t just another incremental year. It’s a step change. There’s some profound stuff going on right now.

There’s probably more innovation going on today than at any time since the Victorian Era — the era that brought us photography, the bicycle, electric light, and the telephone.

The innovation going on right now is so profound that The World Economic Forum is calling it the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

  • Young people rule.
  • There’s a sea-change in the nature of illness. 60% of people in the world today die from non-communicable diseases.
  • Freer capital flows, migration and trade tend to even-out demographic imbalances more rapidly than in generations past.

In the 4th industrial revolution payment friction will be reduced to almost zero.

Consumer proximity is back.
It used to be, of course, that all goods and services were produced where the customers were. But then we entered the era of mass production, the era of moving mass production where labor is cheap, and developing huge transportation networks to move products from where they are made to where they are consumed.

The past 30 years have been about our learning how to work with computers. The next 30 will be about computers learning to work with us.

Open Innovation is winning.
We’re definitely in an era right now where some of the most profound developments are happening with the open innovation model. Most leading software today is built using open source tools and libraries. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize financial services platforms, and Blockchain isn’t “owned” by anyone. Android — an open source software project — has the largest installed base of any operating system in history. If you’ve read the Eric Raymond book called the Cathedral and the Bazaar, you know that we’ve gone through periods where innovation was centered in the cathedral and periods where it’s flourished in the bazaar. We are definitely in a period where innovation is flourishing in the bazaar right now. When it comes to innovation, getting multiple points of view accelerates the process of finding revolutionary solutions.

Written by

I’m a Silicon Valley guy. I teach entrepreneurship at Stanford, coach startup CEO’s at Miller Center, and run the 4thly Startup Accelerator. Also, I love tacos.

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