Daily Archives: March 10, 2020

Technology and the future of growth: Challenges of change

By Zia Qureshi – Economic growth has been lackluster for more than a decade now. This has occurred at a time when economies have faced much unfolding change. What are the forces of change, how are they affecting the growth dynamics, and what are the implications for policy? A recently published book, “Growth in a Time of Change,” addresses these questions.

Three basic ingredients drive economic growth—productivity, capital, and labor. All three are facing new challenges in a changing context. Foremost among the drivers of change has been technology, spearheaded by digital transformation.

Productivity is the main long-term propeller of economic growth. Technology-enabled innovation is the major spur to productivity growth. Yet, paradoxically, productivity growth has slowed as digital technologies have boomed. Among advanced economies over the past 15 years or so, it has averaged less than half of the pace of the previous 15 years. Firms at the technological frontier have reaped major productivity gains, but the impact on productivity more widely across firms has been weak. The new technologies have tended to produce winners-take-most outcomes. Dominant firms have acquired more market power, market structures have become less competitive, and business dynamism has declined.

Investment also has been weak in most major economies. The persistent weakness of investment despite historically low interest rates has prompted concerns about the risk of “secular stagnation.” Weak productivity growth and investment have reinforced each other and are linked by similar shifts in market structures and dynamics.

Technology is having profound effects on labor markets. Automation and digital advances are shifting labor demand away from routine low- to middle-level skills to higher-level and more sophisticated analytical, technical, and managerial skills. On the supply side, however, equipping workers with skills that complement the new technologies has lagged, hindering the broader diffusion of innovation within economies. Education and training have been losing the race with technology. more>

Updates from McKinsey

Bubbles pop, downturns stop
Economic downturns are impossible to predict and sure as sunrise. Build resilience now, because when the sun comes up, you’d better be moving.
By Martin Hirt, Kevin Laczkowski, and Mihir Mysore – Waste no time trying to predict the next economic cycle. The running joke is that “experts” correctly anticipated seven out of the last three macroeconomic events. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the hit rate will be any better next time around.

Geopolitics, economic cycles, and many other forces that can have substantial effects on the fortunes of your business are inherently uncertain. Higher volatility in our business environment has become the “new normal” for many. And while scenario analysis is a worthwhile exercise to rationally assess some of the uncertainties you are facing, there is no guarantee for getting it right.

So if you are concerned about the economic outlook, and if you get challenging questions from your board about the resilience of your business performance, how do you best respond?

It turns out that in times of crisis and in times of economic slowdown, not everybody fares the same. When we traced the paths of more than 1,000 publicly traded companies, we found that during the last downturn, about 10 percent of those companies fared materially better than the rest. We called those companies “resilients”—and we were intrigued. What made them different? Was it sector related? Did they simply get lucky?

As we investigated more deeply, we found some noteworthy characteristics in how resilients weathered the storms: how they prepared for them, how they acted during tougher periods, and how they came out of them.

We will share some of the more specific findings with you below, but let’s start with the core insight right here: Resilients moved early, ahead of the downturn. They entered ahead, they dipped less, and they came out of it with guns blazing.

In short, your business context is and will remain uncertain. But if you get moving now, you can ride the waves of uncertainty instead of being overpowered by them. more>

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Operation Tech Transfer

By Brian A. Weiss – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a world-class research organization. We have phenomenal scientists and engineers with impeccable research credentials. Our researchers are experts in a range of fields including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, fire, forensics, infrastructure, manufacturing and public safety. They are constantly pushing the boundaries of theoretical and applied research. I am often in awe when I learn of the new groundbreaking results my colleagues achieve.

However, while we do great research, we don’t stop there. Our work doesn’t end until our target stakeholders, the American taxpayers, put our technologies and capabilities to work for themselves, so they can grow their businesses, be more profitable, and thrive on the world stage.

What I’m talking about is technology transfer. Simply put, technology transfer is the activity of packaging research into industry-consumable pieces, broadcasting the research to the appropriate communities, and promoting the adoption of these new technologies. I’m a big fan of technology transfer, and I’m thrilled to share my experiences with you!

It all starts with my research. more>

Updates from ITU

Let’s work together to improve road safety. Technology will be key.
By Yushi Torigoe – There is great concern that road traffic accidents kill more than 1.35 million people every year and are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

Road traffic accidents cost most countries 3 per cent of their gross domestic product.

The numbers are indeed, alarming!

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was an opportunity for a dialogue on how we can provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.

It is clear that while some countries have made progress on road safety in the past decade through better road safety legislation on speeding, drink driving, seatbelt use, wearing helmets, for example, much more can be done, and we need a set of innovative solutions to save lives on the world’s roads.

Participants at the Conference agreed that intensifying international cooperation and multilateralism through engagement with all relevant actors, including the private sector, is necessary to achieve global road safety targets – including the Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 – to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries by half.

We need to put an end to a silo mentality, when it comes to dealing with a global problem. more>

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