The 2011 Global Information Technology Report- Not As Dry As it Sounds!

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Academics, Industry Research
Tags: , , , , , ,

(Full disclosure: While living in France, I worked with Soumitra Dutta and INSEAD’s eLab on a social media marketing project for a book he co-authored with Professor and Social Media Strategist Matthew Fraser.)

Happy Monday, all.

A few weeks ago I received links to the “2011 Global information Technology Report” from Soumitra Dutta, one of the co-authors of the annual report and Academic Director of INSEAD’s  eLab, an academic division of the university that pursues “thought leadership, community outreach and value creation in the global knowledge economy.” The report is published annually by the World Economic Forum in partnership with INSEAD, and this year marks the report’s 10th anniversary.

For those unfamiliar with the report (as I had been), it centers around the analysis of the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (which is refers to as ICT) on the global landscape. Perhaps most notably, the WEF created an index called the “Networked Readiness Index” or NRI through which to glance at the progression of ICT throughout the world, and to gauge its expansion on a quantifiable level. As the 2011 Global Information Technology Report states, the NRI “has mapped out the enabling forces driving networked readiness, which is the capacity of countries to fully benefit from new technologies in their competitiveness strategies and their citizens’ daily lives.”

While this is also the first edition I have read, I’ve found that the report touches on some highly pertinent and evocative information. In fact, the NRI’s stated goal touches on a point I heard during a recent conference I had the privilege to attend.

During his presentation, one of the featured speakers made the point that, in terms of disruptive innovation, often technologies are first invented and introduced to the mass public, where early adoption of those technologies then occurs. However, after the initial release of the new technology and relative levels of user traction occur the really outstanding leaps in innovation come from subsequent innovators in the space- in plainer terms, the guys who came second.

When those leaps of innovation occur, often they occur to such an extent, that the full range of technological capabilities contained within that new technology are not actually utilized by their users. In other words, the range of innovation often significantly outpaces the rate of user adoption and mastery of that technology.

I believe the same could be said for the relative rates of disruptive innovation and the global adoption of new technologies. For instance, much in the 2011 Global Information Technology Report (henceforth GITR) centers on the adoption of mobile technologies and their use in emerging economies- while smartphones get ever smarter in Asia, with mindboggling new capabilities introduced to Japanese, Korean and Chinese populations on a near daily basis, basic mobile networks and mobile phone adoption has only just begun to really soar across Africa.

I’m still making my way through the reports chapters which are guest-authored by various tech and economics luminaries, but in subsequent entries I’m hoping to tie some of these chapters back to trends I’ve observed in recent days and days still to come.

Wanted to give you all the head’s up, and invite you to read the report if you so desire. It can be found here: “2011 Global information Technology Report”.

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