Wired for Growth and Innovation. Not.

Tuesday, 17 April, 2012

Tomorrow in Brussels, the Lisbon Council will launch a new research study titled “Wired for Growth and Innovation: How Digital Technologies Are Reshaping Traditional Business Models and Empowering Entrepreneurs”. Anthony D. Williams, author of Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, will deliver the keynote and the focus will be on “how entrepreneurs are leveraging technology to increase productivity, connect with new customers and foster greater innovation.” Putting a face on that statement will be Fotis Antonopoulo, a Greek olive oil connoisseur, who has managed to clamber over his homeland’s barriers to entrepreneurial activity and launch OliveShop.com, an online boutique that sells premium olive products, such as organic extra virgin olive oils and organic olive-based cosmetics.

Olives With Europe wobbling on the brink of its second recession in three years, policy makers across the EU are desperately looking for new ways to kick-start growth and innovation. Information and communications technologies could help the continent’s small and medium-size enterprises, the traditional backbone of the European economy, generate much-needed employment, but hindrances such as patchy broadband access, cumbersome regulations, lack of venture capital and general resistance to change mean that Europe is not exactly wired for growth and innovation, and the likelihood of digital technologies reshaping traditional business models and empowering entrepreneurs by the end of this decade is slim. Sure, Berlin is a hub of digital activity, and Estonia has become a nation of net innovators, but the daily media barrage about viruses, hackers, stolen passwords, killer games, loss of privacy and American domination of web is wreaking havoc on efforts to enlighten Europeans about the potential of digital technologies to help transform businesses and refit them for our digital times. We need more Angry Birds!

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