With the increasing speed of IT
innovation, it's become commonplace to remark on the "leapfrog effect,"
where lagging adopters of new technology end up gaining an advantage
over the first movers because the technology is so much better by the
time they finally invest. This is especially true in emerging economies
throughout Africa, which lacked the resources to implement succeeding
generations of landline communication systems, only to vault ahead in
the age of wireless mobility.
effect is not limited to technology; it also applies to management
thinking and organizational structure. Businesses that have been around
for 50 or 100 years may have many advantages as a result of their
experience, scale and culture, but they also have a much harder time
adapting to change. Today, when change is the defining characteristic of
the global economy, it is far more advantageous in certain respects to
appear on the scene brand-new, with no legacy and no preconceptions,
than to be burdened with having to constantly overhaul aging
infrastructure and rethink aging ideas.
Read the rest of my guest post at Afrinnovator.