martes, 6 de marzo de 2012

Optimismo e innovación

La entrada es de The Economist, del columnista "Schumpeter"; se titula: Now for some good news

Extracto inicial:

"THE lab-on-a-chip (LOC) is a small device with a huge potential. It can run dozens of diagnostic tests on human DNA in a few minutes. Give the device a gob of spit or a drop of blood and it will tell you whether or not you are sick without any need to send your DNA to a laboratory. In poor countries LOCs could offer diagnostics to millions who lack access to expensive laboratories. In the rich world they may curb rising medical costs."

Otro extracto:

"They argue that four big forces are speeding these innovations from the drawing board to the supermarket. The first is the rise of a generation of philanthropists who believe that technology can rid the world of ancient evils. Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, is one of them. He sponsors “self-improvement” through schemes for social entrepreneurship and microfinance.

The second is the discovery of the “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” (as C.K. Prahalad, a management guru, called it). Firms have realised that poor people collectively constitute a huge market. The key is to make things cheaper. DataWind, a British company, has produced a $35 tablet computer in partnership with the Indian government. Technology allows poor people to join the global market. For example, KAZI 560, a Kenyan job-placement service, connects job-seekers with potential employers via mobile phones.

The third is the proliferation of do-it-yourself innovators. DIY-ers helped to power the automobile and aviation revolutions. Now they are at work on every technological frontier: Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired (and a former Economist hack) and a group of fellow enthusiasts have produced a civilian drone for $300—about 1% of the cost of a military equivalent—that might be used to ferry supplies to places that lack good roads.

The fourth is the clever use of prizes. A combination of cash and glory goads the brainy to compete, and can focus a vast amount of brain power on a specific problem. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals offers a $1m prize for progress in producing meat from cells. Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecoms tycoon, offers a $5m prize for African leaders who leave office with clean hands. Qualcomm, an American wireless firm, is offering $10m for a mobile app that can diagnose patients better than a group of doctors. Here Mr Diamandis knows whereof he speaks: he is the chairman of the X Prize Foundation, which rewards breakthrough innovations, and the co-founder of Singularity University, which tries to bring innovations to the boil."

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