The Future Of Innovation ... Conjoint And Green?

Ms Elisa Thomas

The future of innovation might include an increase of some changes through which the activities of innovation have been passing in the last years related to the way they are managed. These activities are not being carried out entirely inside companies anymore, isolated from the market. The researches and developments are turning into a joint process made by many actors. Some reasons for this change are the shorter life cycle of products, together with high risks and costs of investing in innovation and the need to integrate different technologies into new products and processes.

One of the consequences of this new way of managing innovation activities will be to identify the innovator. Contrary to what used to happen lately, it is difficult to recognize the author of an innovation nowadays. We know who the inventor of the telephone was or the inventor of the airplane, but we hardly can name the authors of recent innovations, like the mp3 player. However we are still able to identify the company that launched the product. In the same way that the innovator itself is disappearing, my belief is that the innovation developed for only one company is finishing as well. This is already real for much consumption good as well as medical researches like the human genome or the stem cell in world-wide level, of which Brazil participates. Another challenge to be faced will be the intellectual property of innovations made by more than one organization.

The relations among organizations will vary according to what is best for each innovation project. Clients, suppliers, other plants from the same corporation, laboratories, universities and even competitors can be considered partners. But the main interaction to grow largely in Brazil is among companies and universities. There is a great gap nowadays between firms and universities in relation to R&D timing and intention. The universities’ concern is more about basic research; otherwise the industry’s interest is about practical applications. Science made at the academy and technology from the industry, a relation still not well established in Brazil, will be stronger than today. The good news is joint researches have been gradually increasing and tend to grow even more, as through the sponsorship of employees to Master or Ph.D. courses as firms financing some researches at universities’ laboratories.

Regarding the areas in which Brazil is going to invest, the green technology stands out. The search for economical industrial processes is already a necessity, because Brazil wastes 16.5% of all electrical energy generated. Brazilian industry needs 40% more energy than the United States and 70% more than Germany for each dollar produced by the economy. Sources of renewable energy will be explored, as the natural resources, sun and wind, abundant in the country. Biological fuel is also going to be a source of energy, especially to substitute the gas generated from petroleum. R&D on sugar cane alcohol will be intensified and get more international attention with the participation of researchers, laboratories and companies from many places in the world.

Article © 2009 Ms Elisa Thomas. All rights reserved.

about the author...

Ms Elisa Thomas

Ms Elisa Thomas

affiliation:   Unisinos School Of Administration

position:  Professor

country:  Brazil

area of interest:  Innovation Management

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