Saturday, 24 November 2012

What do innovators need?

I attended a fascinating Google/IPPR/Policy Exchange event this week. Broadly the theme was how digital innovation could deliver economic and social benefits.

The presentations were inspiring. They included a network for connecting developing world entrepreneurs with senior execs in MNCs; a crowd-sourced approach to cancer research; and an online provider of small business loans.

And guess what didn't get a single mention? Superfast broadband. It's an interesting contrast. When you speak to those rolling out fibre, they are keen to talk about all the applications it will enable. When you speak to those actually developing the next generation of applications, superfast very rarely comes up.

Don't think, by the way, that infrastructure was in some way an ignored topic at this event. The opening speaker (from Google) emphasised the importance of improving mobile networks.

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