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Alex Lazarow works at the intersection of investing, innovation and economic development across the public, private and social sectors. He is a venture capitalist with Cathay Innovation and an adjunct professor with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies MBA program.
While Westerners often associate the invention of calculus with 17th century European luminaries like Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, its theoretical foundations actually stretch back millennia. Fundamental theorems appear in ancient Egyptian work from 1820 BC, and later influences sprout from Babylonian, Ancient Greek, Chinese and Middle Eastern texts.
Nature - World - Ideas - Concepts - Corner
Such is the nature of the world’s biggest ideas — concepts that arise in one corner of the world provide the scaffolding for future advancements. Realizing the true potential of any idea takes time and requires input from diverse cultures and perspectives.
Technological innovation is no exception.
Tech - World - Today - Ways
In the tech world today, this is playing out in three important ways:
ideas improve when they become global;
testing globally is a differentiated strategy.
Like calculus, technological innovation benefits from international iteration.
Ridesharing - Instance - Innovation - Uber - Lyft
Ridesharing, for instance, started as an innovation pioneered by Uber and Lyft in San Francisco. Yet startups rapidly exported the model globally. Such evolution reflects local needs. Take Go-Jek, a ridesharing app that is now a dominant local player in Indonesia. Although Go-Jek “replicated” the model, they also took a highly localized approach, applying the Uber/Lyft concept to Jakarta’s existing informal system of motorcycle taxis, “ojeks.”
Yet Go-Jek realized that ojek drivers had the potential to do so much more than just move people around. The company aims to maximize driver engagement throughout the day and has built a multi-service app that allows them to not only transport people, but also deliver food, packages and services. As Nadiem Makarim, Go-Jek’s CEO put it, “In the mornings, we drive people from home to work. At lunch, we deliver them meals to...
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