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Idélaboratoriet is a consulting company specializing in creativity and innovation. Idélaboratoriet was founded in 2000.

Idélaboratoriet works in the field of creativity and innovation. We create value for our clients for example through innovation strategy planning, facilitation of creative processes, training programs in professional idea creation and implementation of digital idea management solutions.

Idélaboratoriet is Swedish for The Idea Lab.

Idélaboratoriet was founded in Sweden and has its headquarters in Malmö in southern Sweden, but works with clients worldwide.

Idélaboratoriet likes to say that creativity is a process of getting original ideas that have some sort of value and innovation is the profitable implementation of creativity.

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#27 Innovation Outside the Western World

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The Serious Innovation Newsletter # 27

The world as we know it is growing bigger. Not only when it comes to the world of global economy and the cheap manufacturing of China and India. The world of innovation is also growing. As a Chinese friend said to me a couple of years back:”We do not want your boring jobs anymore. Now we want your fun jobs!”. The French business school INSEAD has released a new report looking at innovation around the world, where the interesting measures are not in the rankings of the top countries but in the new countries on the map of world innovation. Let’s have a look!

The INSEAD report is based upon different kinds of measures that seems both lagging and a little bit old school, so there is nothing very exiting about the report and its methods. The interesting part is that it looks more closely at the whole world of innovation including the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries as well as the third world. Let us first consider the growing giants and then have a look at what the report says about innovation in Africa.

The president of China Hu Jintao (have you noticed how many around you in the western world who does not know the name of the Chinese president!) wants to raise the public spending on R&D to 2,5% of GDP. It is still not as high as the world leading Nordic countries with spending of above 3% but in real money it is the same as the huge amount of 115 billion dollars annually!  Still none of the BRIC countries have become global innovation leaders but India and China (ranked 23rd and 29th in the survey) seems to be climbing and passing countries like Italy, Spain and Norway. Both India (have you noticed how many around you in the western world who does not know the name of the Indian prime minister: Manmohan Singh !) and China ranks even higher when it comes to the production of knowledge and human capacity with thousands of engineers and science graduates per year. All these countries rank very low when it comes to institutions and policies – corruption is high (especially in Brazil and Russia) and the legal systems and protection of intellectual property rights are very low.

When it comes to innovation in Africa – who takes four of the last five spots of the 107 countries ranked in the report, with Angola being dead last – it seems like the basic infrastructure is being built for new ideas to flourish. One of the authors of the report Soumitra Dutta takes Rwanda as an example: “in 2000, six years after 800,000 people perished in a fearful genocide, including many of Rwanda’s educated citizens, just one school in the small, landlocked, mainly agricultural, country had a computer. Of a population of 8 million, fewer than 100,000 possessed a phone of any kind. But turning the disadvantages on their head, the government drew up a bold plan called Vision 2020, which sought to leapfrog the country into the 21st century through technology. Six years later, pupils at half of Rwanda’s primary schools have access to a computer. Internet cafes are multiplying, even in the countryside, and mobile numbers are up to 300,000. A former army barracks in the capital has become the Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management, turning out teachers, instructors and technicians.”

In Ethiopia a 4000km fibre-optic network is being finished in 2007 connecting most of the population of 74 billion people to internet connection within nearby range. In Mozambique the government institutions are being more and more computerized. It seems like the innovation wave must go through IT-infrastructure in Africa – at least if you listen to the report.

So the question is where the new Ipod will be created, where the next internet buzz will start and where the global companies will run next. When will the first global innovation leap come from Africa? Not tomorrow, not the day after that, but hopefully soon.

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