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Exponential Innovation: Technology, business, jobs

Our world is changing at an almost incomprehensible rate. We are seeing exponential growth in technology and its effect on the world around us. In the last century and more specifically in the last 50 years we have seen the use of the word innovation increase by more than fivefold. MEDO CEO Keith Matthews tackles the topic of innovation and the effects thereof.

What is innovation?

The action or process of innovating. The introduction of something new. Innovation is a new idea, more effective device or process/method. It can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing needs. Iinnovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organization.

change, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis, reorganisation, restructuring, remodelling, renovation, restyling, variation


Our world is changing at an almost incomprehensible rate. We are seeing exponential growth in technology and its effect on the world around us. In the last century and more specifically in the last 50 years we have seen the use of the word innovation increase by more than fivefold.

Technology innovation has re-written Moore’s law; which is the observation that, over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit has doubled approximately every two years.

As a result our world is now filled with small or micro devices packed with technology; sensors, smart watches, smartphones, 3D printers, robotics and apps.

In their book Bold Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler estimate that the average smartphone today packs more than $900k worth of technology. The smartphone has replaced fax machines, copiers, digital cameras, modems, desk phones and more.

3D printing has brought about a whole new world. Additive manufacturing as the technology is aptly named is threatening conventional manufacturing plants. Inventors, entrepreneurs and designers are able to rapidly prototype new products. This reduces time to market and increases profitability. Amazingly, the technology was first developed in the 1970’s but was too expensive to make available on any kind of scale. The principle of Moore’s Law has seen this change and 3D printers are available to the man on the street. Technology no longer follows a linear curve. We live in a world where the development and growth of technology has become exponential.


With these technology advancements, the business opportunities have also become exponential. Examples of this are easy to see in the world of social media. Instagram was developed in a garage by two entrepreneurs in 2010. Four years later, they have more than 300 million users. Instagram was  acquired by Facebook for $1bn in 2012 just two years after launch. At the time they had fewer than 15 employees.

Diamandis and Kotler on the cover of Bold make the following statement: “How to go BIG, create WEALTH and IMPACT the world.”

With the technologies available to us today, entrepreneurs and business people alike need to embrace this thinking and be bold with their business ideas. By 2020, the global population will reach 7bn and there will be an additional 3bn people connected to the internet. In 2012, Diamandis made the following statement: “In 2010, we had just short of two billion people online, connected. By 2020, that’s going from two billion to five billion Internet users. Three billion new minds who have never been heard from before are connecting to the global conversation. What will these people want? What will they consume? What will they desire? And rather than having economic shutdown, we’re about to have the biggest economic injection ever. These people represent tens of trillions of dollars injected into the global economy


If this is what the future of technology looks like, how will this affect the skills that will be required in the job market?

Google provides the following insights regarding the the 10 essential skills for careers in the near future. This is not just for large established companies but also applies to smaller companies and entrepreneurs.

Sense-making: The ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed.

Social intelligence: The ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions.

Novel and adaptive thinking: A proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based.

Cross cultural competency: The ability to operate in different cultural settings.

Computational thinking: The ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data based reasoning.

New Media Literacy: An ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication.

Transdisciplinary: Literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines

Design Mindset: Ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes.

Cognitive load management: Ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functions

Virtual collaboration: Ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team.

Are you ready for an exponential future..?

Recommended Reading

BOLD: Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Abundance: Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Elon Musk: Ashlee Vance


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