During the industrial revolution when human searched for means to do more things rapidly and at the least cost, invention and technology were all about production machines. Huge metal blocks of gears powered industries, producing food, farming and tools and weapons. The assembly line further pushed the boundaries of production capability. Inventors and discoverers created things that were manufactured in large numbers so it can be bought by more people.
In the age of computers, the battle has shifted away from brute human force and engine horsepower. It permeated into the battle of ideas, intellectual property, systems, patents and procedures. The biggest companies of today are no longer the plantations or the super factories. The most successful companies of the last three decades have been those that delivered ideas that made life easier for people—companies that created applications that solved problems and efficient systems – Microsoft, Apple, Google, and IBM. These are the companies of the present, and they will most likely lead the corporate world into the future.
At the heart of their business are ideas and each company’s quest to make life easier. While these companies continue to dominate, they also ushered in a new breed of entrepreneurs, innovators and businessmen who have nothing but ideas but are now up to the list of the world’s biggest and youngest billionaires.
This does not mean industries have disappeared. Factories still produce food, television sets and mobile phones. However, as the world becomes smaller, competition is as tough as ever. For everyone maker of a product in the United States, there is perhaps a thousand more creating the same in factories in China, Vietnam, South America or Eastern Europe. Waging war in terms of price will only kill American companies and will benefit Chinese's companies with their cheap labor cost and relatively low regard for quality and even safety. Waging war in terms of creating designs and new products will only last so long as products are copied by clandestine companies. Piracy is not only limited to movies or music but to design and creation as well.
So the battle for product supremacy lies on innovation, with creative people in the forefront of not only creating a product, but adding more value into it over time. Applications and product adaptability are the key features of the products of the century with companies not only delivering a static product off the shelf, but also solutions, innovation, design and creativity. For example look at the online advertising industry and how important technology is to there sucess. This has given rise to small entrepreneurs, who, despite being unable to fight big companies in terms of size and price, can make up in terms of quality and service.
Efforts are being made in factory floors and office cubicles to increase productivity and efficiency to save costs. Technological innovations now start as ideas more than rough sketches. These ideas come from anywhere in the corporate ladder, attacked and improved by everyone else, and commercialized as solutions and applications.
Indeed, technology has now moved into a new sphere. Muscle and engine power is already there. It is now the time for human brains to make the most out of the technological marvels coming to people faster than ever before. We hope to make life easier and better for today and the future, however can we keep up with the pace of technolical advancements?
I think we can.