How ICT changed the balance of pover for Europe

06 April 2010 Author: EIFonline

Ben Verwaayen, CEO at Alcatel-Lucent gave an inspiring speech at EIF's dinner debate on 6 April about Europe’s role in a new world driven by ICT.

Only 5 years ago, the world had predictable business models. Today, the old business models are dead.Consumers have become global shoppers, while image has overtaken words as the main means of communication. Nobody knows yet how to monetize the new world business model but we can safely say that Europe is no longer in the lead.

We lost the lead because new forms of collaboration have changed the world. Today, collaboration can happen independent of geographical location. Only 10 years ago, the majority of patents were still created in the West. Now this is no longer the case, and this is how India, for instance, became a superpower.

What we know today is that ICT has become the most important differentiator for productivity in the world. If we look at productivity improvements we estimate that 50% of these are created by ICT use itself, 25% by the education of the people using ICT and their skill sets, and 25% by the policy created by policy makers. How do we best leverage this mix of productivity improvements?

There are of course more questions than answers at this moment in time: how can we make sustainable policies if we don't know how new business models will develop? What we do know is that our future competiveness will depend on Europe being in the lead (or not). The challenge will be to convince investors, who already have doubts about the new business models, that they can make safe bets in Europe.

What Europe needs is true leadership, a breakthrough moving away from the old world. We need to use our leadership skills to create earning capacity for a new generation.


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