Innovation: a tech industry paradox?


Three stories have caught my eye in the last few days around the subject of innovation – or rather failure to invest in it.

First, the FT and others have reported on the demise of Vodafone’s innovation unit.

PR Week ran a story about Bite losing the PR account for BT’s innovation arm – as a result of cost cutting.

Then Rupert Goodwins made reference to Symantec’s Research Labs only having one person dedicated to fundamental research.

Which points to a curious trend where, on the one hand. technology companies often talk loudly about their commitment to innovation – but seem reluctant to actually invest in it.

Of course, the kind of pure research that can lead to genuine innovation more often than not can lead to expensive cul de sacs – but surely that’s the point – profit is the reward for risk – you have to take a calculated punt on innovation to get the "breakthrough" everyone seems to want.

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