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Visionary Innovation? Focus On The Space Between Industries

Posted By Paul Tate, September 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM, in Category: The Innovative Enterprise

“Seventy five per cent of truly great innovative ideas come from that white space between different industries”, argues David Frigstad, chairman of global research and consultancy group Frost & Sullivan.

“Take the convergence of computers and cell phones that has created today’s smartphones; or the auto sector’s use of new battery technologies that has given us electric vehicles,” he adds.

Keynoting the US-leg in the 12-stop global tour of Frost and Sullivan’s Growth, Innovation and Leadership (GIL) event in San Jose, California today, Frigstad stressed that the key to creating the visionary innovations that will dominate the future of today’s enlightened companies is all about finding the points at which different industry sectors intersect.

He believes these convergent innovations will continue to transform both global markets and industries – often putting today’s market incumbents in peril. “The rate at which market-leading companies will fall out of the Fortune 500 rankings will increase substantially over the next ten years," he predicts.

This converging innovative trend is increasingly familiar in manufacturing plants too: whether it’s the merging of telecommunications, sensors, and factory automation to allow remote wireless monitoring, or the brave new world of 3D printers which brings together laser printing technologies and advanced new materials to create new digital production platforms that may soon revolutionize both where and how many products are designed and manufactured.

Innovative concepts, of course, are just the beginning: “Collaboration [between industries] is essential to understanding the multiple influences on the future,” he adds. “And companies now have to operate at Olympic performance levels to be able to execute and implement these new ideas.”

Does Frigstad’s perspective on the game-changing power of convergent innovation ring true in your industry?

Are your corporate innovation initiatives predominantly focused internally within your own industry sector for breakthrough ideas - or are they also exploring the possibilities of that unchartered ‘white space’ between different industries?

Written by Paul Tate

Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive


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