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Understanding the future of technology used to be a simple science. You kept an eye on scientific journals, visited the odd corporate R&D lab, and kept a close watch on the price/performance curves that indicated the falling price of computation. These days, unfortunately, the greatest source of disruptive innovation often comes from consumers themselves - which is why some of the world's largest companies are investing in specialist research divisions run by savvy anthropologists. One of the most influential of these new breed of innovation gurus is Genevieve Bell - who is the chief anthropologist at Intel Corporation.
One of the most interesting questions concerning the rise of China is how soon it will start to create its own global brands. The cultural stereotype is that the Chinese are good at copying brands and products, but not so great at inventing their own. But from Haier to Li Ning, there is increasing evidence that globalisation is becoming a priority for mainland companies not only as a strategy to access new markets, but more importantly, to gain the cachet necessary to ensure victory on their own shores. I spoke with Raphael le Masne de Chermont, Executive Chairman of Shanghai Tang, to get his views.
From Wall Street to Main Street, exposure to emerging markets have become part of the critical growth story that Western companies need to justify their future earnings. From the earliest days of eBay and Google, to more recent acquisitions by Groupon and Zynga, cash rich technology companies have followed the trend of buying up their counterparts in other markets. So, for local entrepreneurs copying can be a lucrative sport. But will this current phase of 'cloning' of Western web concepts continue or will we enter a new phase of homegrown development and innovation? After all - in an age when India's Tata owns Jaguar, and China's Geely owns Volvo - could Baidu one day be in a position to grab Google, and Tencent take out Facebook?
One of the interesting tensions facing global companies like Google and Facebook is how to balance their desire to take an international, scale driven view to their platforms, with an appreciation of the unique dynamics of local online culture. I caught up with the head of Google in Mexico, John Farrell - to learn more about the Search giant's approach to fast growth markets in Latin America
What are the three poles of power in the Middle East's media sector? In this week's episode of Mind Grenades I catch up with media entrepreneur and Lebanese powerbroker Jihad Murr to find out, and in the process also get a quick glimpse of one the region's hottest new radio iPhone apps.
Social media has made it deceptively simple for marketers to start engaging with consumers, but what is the appropriate way for brands to be relevant to conversations? When I caught up with Johnny Vulkan, one of the founders of the innovative agency Anomaly based in New York, he shared with me one of their insider secrets - the idea of 'leaning into frame', and how they discovered the power of leveraging social memes by being the first in line to buy the first iPhone.
Lebanon is not perhaps the first place that springs to mind as an innovation hotspot - but while often overlooked, the Middle East is on the verge of a digital revolution of its own. On a recent trip, I met with Spiro Azkoul, the CEO and founder of SNA Corp - a company which started out as providing local language TV content over the Web to ethnic communities in the US, but soon realised that there was a much bigger opportunity closer to home. Will we soon see the social media equivalent of Al Jazeera? Keep watching to find out...
From Mexico to Brazil - social media use in Latin America has exploded - but what is really behind the propensity of users in these countries to embrace social platforms? One of the most interesting things about looking at the rise of digital platforms in emerging markets are the intersections between disruptive technologies and local ethnography. On one of our recent research trips, we spoke to the head of digital for MTV in Argentina to find out more about the phenomenon.
In this episode we meet Johar Alam, founder of the IDC Indonesia and known by many as the father of the Internet in that country. Apart from his pioneering achievements in bringing his country onto the Web, he also happens to run what is quite possibly the world's coolest data center.
© 2013 Tomorrow Limited