Authored by: Mark Beckford
I’ve always thought that the next major technology disruption would come from the developing world. This could partly be just a bias on my part (most of my career has been developing computer businesses in emerging markets). The underlying logic behind this belief is that disruptive innovations are cheaper, easier to use, and bring some type of end user value that doesn’t exist in the current mainstream solution.
Emerging markets clearly require a more affordable solution. They also require something that is easy to use due to higher illiteracy rates and limited skills. Finally, in order for them to decide to use their hard-earned money on something, it has to be useful for them. Take a look at the PC. Even if someone gave PC’s away for free, you still wouldn’t see PC’s sales go through the roof. Sure, there’d be a big bump, but not to the penetration level you see with TV’s and other basic household appliances.
Even if a PC was made so easy to use (e.g. streamline and simplify the interface with large, logical icons) so someone that couldn’t read or had no computer skills could use the PC easily, they likely wouldn’t see that much value in it. The missing element is some unique value for consumers and micro-enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid. I don’t think this value exists in PC’s today.