In less than a decade, the explosive growth of information technologies have transformed the way we communicate, learn, and do business. This presence of technology in our everyday lives has made us into a technological society, and we can expect our “cyber culture” to continue to grow and evolve at the same pace as the technological advancements. This is because in the next four years the number of people using mobile devices worldwide will reach about 5.4 billion.
The possibilities of thousands of millions of people connected to mobile devices with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity and access to knowledge are unlimited. These possibilities are then multiplied by the emerging technological advances in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and more.
According to experts, what we are witnessing at a worldwide level is the fourth industrial revolution. The first industrial revolution used water and steam to mechanize production, the second used electricity for mass production, while the third used electronics and technology to automate production. This fourth is a digital revolution characterized by a fusion of technologies.
The current advancements and the scope and the impact of these systems have no historical precedents. In comparison with the earlier industrial revolutions, this one is evolving exponentially and is influencing nearly every industry in every country.
The depth of these changes emphasizes the importance of innovation in this global economy, especially in times of crisis and lower domestic growth since innovation allows business to be more productive, grow, save on costs, and generate new products and business. This fourth industrial revolution has the potential to raise in- come levels and improve the quality of life around the world, including Nicaragua. Development of technology-based solutions can have a positive impact on the ma- jor challenges that this country has.
However, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Nicaragua has taken a step back rather than advancing in innovation. In addition, in terms of innovation, the Global Entrepreneurship 2017 Index (GEI) ranks Nicaragua number 129 out of 137 countries that were analyzed by the Global Institute of Entrepreneurship and Development (GEDI). This can be attributed to the lack of a culture and awareness of the importance of innovation, in addition to obstacles such as lack of financing for high risk start-ups and fear of failure. These factors can not only cause stagnation in innovation, but result in a saturated market with many small businesses offering the same thing, under the same conditions, rather than focusing on differentiation. A change of culture and mentality in the private sector is necessary, including investors, private companies, and entrepreneurs.
Nicaragua is a growing country and is fertile land for innovation. It is necessary for entrepreneurs and businesses to dare to innovate, to open up a space to learn together, and to take advantage of all the tools available to drive innovation.
Innovation can be the introduction of new products and services, as well as new ways of doing things to create tangible benefits, solve problems and create efficiencies. The creation of innovative products and services not only improve the quality of life of consumers, but translates into greater profitability for companies, resulting in higher economic growth for the country.
Any limitation or obstacle that presents itself along the way should become an opportunity to innovate.
There are many innovations that are being developed daily worldwide in the areas of agriculture, medicine, environment, transportation, communications and more. We too must innovate. We too must change to produce more and better. We too must innovate to eradicate poverty and generate more wealth while seeking new ways to achieve positive impacts in our economy and our lives.
It is necessary that together we push Nicaragua towards a better future and take advantage of this fertile ground for innovation.
Sheila Arguello Slick is founder of Slick Developers, an Information Technology Outsourcing company specializing in software development of mobile applications, Digital Publishing, responsive webpages and other digital services. She is also a speaker & TV co-host promoting technology, STEM and innovation in Latin America.
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