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Opportunities Are Available In These Two Technology Sectors

Global Innovation Is Growing But At A Slower Pace


If you are a venture capitalist planning your fund distribution next year, know this: The technology sectors of home appliances and telecommunications are falling behind in innovation. If you want to make a difference, you might want to consider investing in these two areas.

This was revealed in the 2017 State of Innovation Report: The Relentless Desire to Advance, published by innovation experts Clarivate Analytics in September.

Home appliances has experienced steady growth of more than 15 percent per annum over the previous six years. This dip though, seems more like a pause than a peak. 

In telecommunications, patenting has slowed for the third time in three years to just 0.5 percent. The report suggests that it may be experiencing a re-focus towards consolidating and maximising returns from existing IP rights through licensing/cross licensing innovation.

Other notable findings in the report were that global innovation is growing, but at a slower rate. The patent filing volume is still up, indicating that global corporations, universities, government agencies and research institutions are continuing to contribute new solutions to address the world's biggest problems.

The good news is although the pace of innovation is slowing, the quality is improving, as laid out by a report of the top 100 global innovators in 2016.

“Although patent filing had gone down, the patent grant rate has increased, implying that companies are seeing a correlation between the strength of their filings and the success of a grant and in turn indicating an improvement in the quality of the innovation,” says Bob Stembridge, Customer Relations Manager and Patent Analyst for Clarivate Analytics. 

Another noteworthy find from Clarivate’s innovation report: The highest innovation growth comes from the Food, Beverage and Tobacco industry at 39 percent.

Stembridge explains, “A significant amount of the innovation in those sectors comes from China. Given China’s population, the need to feed and refresh the large and growing number of people is reflected in the rise in innovation in Food and Beverage technology.

“Similarly, the growth in tobacco innovation is also perhaps unsurprising given the proportion of people in China who smoke. In addition to innovation in traditional areas of cigarette manufacture and formulation, a significant proportion is also geared to cleaner smoking with e-cigarette and vaporisation/atomisation technology.”

It is heartening to note that some of key challenges facing society at large are being addressed by innovators. These include an increasing global population, combined with longer life spans and a rise in age-related health issues.

All this is resulting in an increase in energy demands so that by 2035, the world’s energy consumption will go up by 35 percent. With declining supplies of fossil fuels, the development and adoption of alternative energy sources is vital.

“Innovation and developments in science and technology have a major contribution to make in providing significant advances to help secure the future of the planet,” points out Stembridge.

Looking ahead, he continues to remain optimistic about the state of innovation for 2018. China will continue to grow in importance. He also highlights the sectors of automotive, alternative energy and health. 

“One can foresee continuing innovation in the automotive sector with further innovation in the areas of autonomous and electric vehicles and probably a convergence of these two.

“The need to find solutions for drug-resistant superbugs will continue to spur innovation in addressing the scenario of a post-antibiotic world.

“And more generally, we may expect continued developments in alternative energy sources, including solar, to address the challenge of finite non-renewable sources.”

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