With economic growth slowing in developed markets, innovation is increasingly seen as the key to prosperity. Yet the market leaders of today are rarely the source of radical innovation in their sectors: it is entrepreneurs who devise the disruptive technologies of the future which fundamentally change ways of doing business. That is why many governments seek to promote entrepreneurship through policies such as creating a highly educated workforce and reforming tax systems to encourage investment in start-ups.
It is commonly believed that innovation is focused mainly in the US, but there are also high technology hubs in European countries such as the UK, Russia and the Nordic countries and in Israel. So for this issue of Pictet Report, we asked innovative entrepreneurs in those countries to tell us about their businesses, the factors that had made them successful and how they saw the future. One interesting aspect that emerged was the changing nature of the entrepreneur’s lifecycle: rather than building companies to pass down through the family, today’s entrepreneurs often sell or float their businesses and move on. Some start new ventures, while others use their entrepreneurial experience to invest in and actively advise the next generation of innovators.
To provide further insight into innovation, we turned to a Swiss neuroscientist to learn about the latest research into the nature of creativity and to a French social scientist who has analysed the waves of innovation that occur throughout history. As in every issue, we also looked at the world of philanthropy with a profile of a Mexican entrepreneur who has established a foundation to promote economic development in a country of great divisions. And finally, Pictet’s Head of Asset Allocation and Macro Research highlights the failure of many governments to foster the innovation that could help revive their economies.
All of these issues are of great interest to Pictet, which has an entrepreneurial heritage dating back more than two centuries. Over the years, we have been confronted with serious challenges to our business model and have responded with transformative innovations in the form of new types of banking services. We hope that you will enjoy reading about the fascinating entrepreneurs we have featured and the findings of those who study the phenomenon of creativity, and that you will find this report stimulating.