The pace of innovation - keeping up

Technological innovation has rapidly transformed our daily lives in ways that were previously unimaginable. Computing power has increased exponentially over the last 50 years, doubling every 18 to 24 months, as predicted by Moore’s Law, resulting in more advanced and smaller devices, the most recent popular culmination being the smartphone.

Such advances are not only a convenience for end users, they represent a significant threat but also opportunity for businesses, depending on where they sit in the competitive landscape. For instance, Apple was the clear winner of its introduction of the iPhone, while Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry were the obvious losers. More than that, the widespread adoption of handheld internet-connected devices over the last ten years has had unforeseen consequences for a number of sectors.

For example, the taxi industry has been upended by Uber and this example of innovation would not have been possible without the widespread adoption of smartphones (although it is worth noting that the company's recent corporate governance and cultural missteps are arguably the product of its desire to rapidly disrupt the established taxi industry). Similarly, music industry revenues returned to growth in 2015 for the first time in 15 years, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, having lost 40% of aggregate sales. These losses are directly linked to innovation, namely increasingly fast internet connections combined with a rise in online piracy, the introduction of iTunes and other digital download services and, latterly, streaming platforms such as Spotify, which owe some of their popularity to the fact they can be used on the move with, once again, smartphones.

Smartphones are just one example of technology that has had a profound disruptive domino effect. Advances in computing power, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, 3D printing and other technologies…