Connect with us

Politics

How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth? – ReadWrite

Published

on

How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth? - ReadWrite


Millions of would-be startup entrepreneurs, software developers, and other innovators are struggling. They want to create new products, design new technologies, and introduce the world to new heights of productivity and wellbeing. But we’re entering an era of slowed technological growth – at least in some ways.

How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth?

Innovation is at the heart of any thriving economy. New technologies mean new companies, new jobs, and new opportunities for all existing companies – not to mention a higher quality of life for everyone involved (in most cases). But if our rate of innovation is unsustainable, where do we go from here?

Are We Really Slowing?

First, let’s explore the idea that innovation is slowing down – because it’s not a foregone conclusion. There are strong signs that innovation is slowing in some respects, but other experts have argued that many of these forms of deceleration are temporary.

For starters, productivity growth in the United States has been slowing consistently over the past few decades.

In the 1950s, American productivity was increasing by more than 3 percent each year. By the 1980s, that rate of increase had fallen to 2 percent, and today, the rate of increase is less than 1 percent annually.

What accounts for this slowing over the past few decades?

There are several potential factors. For starters, research-centric universities like MIT and Harvard were getting more funding and more attention. Major corporations like General Electric and Ford were investing heavily in R&D departments.

And technologies originally developed during World War II (often to fuel the war effort) were commercialized and distributed, with widespread access to them for the first time.

Some experts have suggested that the lack of innovation is a direct result of a lack of investment. If we invest more heavily in R&D in corporate departments and universities alike — we’d be able to see better results.

But this doesn’t necessarily stand to reason; our R&D spending is, collectively, many times higher than it’s ever been before. And yet, the productivity rate growth remains.

Is technological innovation to blame? How can that be?

Others suggest that this is the inevitable effect of technological innovation, which we would see in any society of intelligent beings. Major breakthroughs in technology function like low-hanging fruit; they’re relatively easy to brainstorm, and it’s only a matter of time before they get developed.

Once developed, breakthroughs increase our capacity and make other “low-hanging fruit” technologies easier to think up and develop. From the 1700s through the 1950s, we saw the development of technologies like the steam engine, running electricity, nuclear power, and of course, the internet.

What’s New in Tech?

But now that we’re here, the low-hanging fruit is no longer available. Scientists and researchers are spending all their efforts making our existing technology better – not necessarily coming up with something new.

We’re developing quantum computers as a kind of last area of research for computers, since we’re already pushing up against the boundaries of physics as we know it today.

We’re coming up on some hard limits of human knowledge.

Our model of physics is relatively unchanged since the 1980s. We haven’t made many major advancements in fields like chemistry for decades. And Moore’s Law, which once practically dictated the pace of improvement for transistors — is at its end.

Are we on a tech plateau?

That said, there are some arguments that we’re merely on a temporary plateau. The idea is that, sooner or later, new technology will come along to help us ascend to new heights, opening the door to other technological developments. For example, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) could make it possible to solve problems that are currently unthinkably hard to address.

What about rates of productivity growth?

There’s also the argument that slowing rates of productivity growth are actually because of innovation, not due to a lack of it. When innovation happens quickly or occurs in an unexpected direction, it can disrupt the economy in such a way that interferes with GDP growth.

For example, when the internet began to encroach on the territory of newspaper companies, it shrunk the profitability of an entire industry.

Directions for Innovation

So how do we continue to innovate in an era with slowing growth?

There are a handful of important possibilities to note:

  • “First principles” thinking. One of the most important avenues for progression is going to be “first principles” thinking. In other words, we need to return to the ground level and rethink some of our longest-standing assumptions. When it comes to innovation, we tend to upgrade various components of an existing system or machine. For example, cars haven’t fundamentally changed in many decades; every component of modern cars is superior, in some way, to older variants, but we’re still working with an engine and four wheels. First principles thinking would encourage us to start from scratch, reimagining what a “car” is from the ground up and challenging our previous assumptions.
  • Lateral expansion. We could also attempt to innovate and expand laterally. Admittedly, this doesn’t qualify as “innovation” in the purest sense. Rather than inventing something totally new, you’ll be entering new, previously unexplored territory. That could be something as simple as reaching a new target audience with your digital advertising strategy, or as complex as introducing a new industry to a developing country that currently lacks it. Existing technology is highly advanced, but not all people of the world can access it equally. New audience targeting, geographic expansion, and cost cutting can all help us progress in this area.
  • Combination and repackaging. In the past decade, most of our best “innovations” have been novel ways of combining and repackaging other existing technologies. For example, the pinnacle of modern technology is, in many ways, the smartphone. But even Apple’s first-generation iPhone didn’t introduce many new features; calling, texting, emailing, and browsing the internet were all already in existence. They just weren’t packaged together conveniently. Since then, we’ve seen many new phone models, but the upgrades are relatively minor, such as more detailed cameras and slightly faster processors.

Supporting Further Innovation

Innovation doesn’t typically happen in a vacuum. It most often happens in dense teams, with strong leaders, and the backing of tons of interested investors and supportive partners. In other words, our best innovators need support.

So how do we, collectively, support further innovation and growth?

  • Investment. One straightforward method is to pour mor money into research and development. With more investment, scientists, inventors, and developers can do more. Of course, there are some limitations here; our R&D spending is higher than ever, yet it’s not giving us a steady conveyor belt of new technologies.
  • Risk. Culturally, we need to embrace risk and rethinking long-standing structures and systems. It’s a risky move to rethink our concept of a car from the ground up, especially if you’re starting a brand new company to do it.
  • Public recognition. We also need to recognize that innovation is slowing and behave accordingly, as consumers. The most recent iPhone isn’t substantially different than the previous generation; perhaps we can throw our enthusiasm behind more novel, innovative presentations.
  • Political theories. It’s also worth noting that people from different political backgrounds have different ideas for tackling this issue. For example, some could suggest the best solution is to foster a truly free, capitalistic market that naturally encourages entrepreneurs. Others may believe that more government control and investing could develop ideas that a free market may not support.

Toward the Next Generation of Technology

The human thirst for innovation and growth is unquenchable, so if we’re currently in the middle of a technological slowdown, the optimistic view is that this is only temporary. We’ll continue making iterative progress in areas that can continue progressing and eventually stumble upon a major breakthrough that forces us to reconsider everything we used to know.

However, if we’re going to find that new technological breakthrough, and support a healthy economy while we wait for its arrival — it’s important that we recognize this slowdown and foster innovation in any way we can.

Productivity increases may have slowed, but they’re still increasing – and that should give us plenty of momentum to keep growing for decades to come.

Image Credit: susanne jutzeler; pexels – thank you

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach…preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

Published

on

Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

Continue Reading

Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

Published

on

Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Continue Reading

Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

Published

on

Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2021 Seminole Press.