As we are on the verge of 2017, it's time to have a glimpse of what the world of innovation is going to look like in the next 12 months. 2016 has been a year of continuous developments, with startups and tech giants delivering breakthroughs across all tech sectors. So, what can we expect from them next year?
New President, New Rules
The US elections and the victory of Donald Trump were among the most discussed news this year. Prior to the election results, entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley expressed their concerns over the future of innovation under Donald Trump’s presidency in an open letter. Primarily, these concerns were about Trump's negative vision of sustainability, immigration, and the absence of an innovation plan.
According to the US Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's analysis of Trump's election campaign, the president-elect has no position on federal R&D funding, technology transfer and commercialization, support of startups and small businesses, or patent system reform - the pillars of innovation in the US.
Regarding the international talent retention and H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, during his campaign, Trump said that companies should hire from the unemployed pool and suggested raising wage requirements for H-1B workers.
The only predictions that can be made at the moment, would be based on reports and statements made during the election campaign. In an interview with Bloomberg in February 2016, Trump said he would 'come down so hard on [Apple's CEO Tim Cook] his head would be spinning all the way back to Silicon Valley.' A constructive dialogue between the new government and tech companies is paramount to retain the US position as the leading innovator, so a lot of work needs to be done to reach consensus.
As for now, both large organizations and startups should embrace agility to ensure they are prepared for any negative impact.
Employees To Resist AI Enterprise Devices
Tech giants are eager to deliver next generation AI-powered enterprise services to their corporate customers who are undergoing digital transformations. However, the increasing use of machine learning within corporate cultures is likely to raise privacy concerns among employees.
Enterprise initiatives that will be in the form of software, apps, and wearables will be capable of collecting data to then monitor, analyze, and help to improve employees' performance. However, it may also cause animosity as many will find it overly intrusive.
The CCS Insight's report suggests that despite machine learning continuing to contribute to corporate health, there will be a need in HR initiatives and programs to examine the impact of new enterprise products on privacy in the workplace and to ensure that the wellbeing of the workers is not threatened.
The Investment Climate In Internet/Digital Startups Will Cool Down
Due to the low barriers to entry, but huge potential profitability internet startups are increasingly popular. However, as growth in the number of platforms and services continues, investors will become more skeptical and careful with investments. The CCS Insight report suggests that 2017 will bring a slowdown in funding for startups who aim to grow their market share. Instead, most cash will continue flowing towards a few established names in ride-sharing, property rental, and delivery services.
End Of IPO Drought?
The predicted slowdown in private investments means one thing - the long-lasting IPO drought may soon be over. Those who don't have large enough cash reserves or who are unable to sell due to high valuations, simply have no choice but to go public to retain investors' attention to their assets.
Despite companies having been intimidated by the idea of launching an IPO in recent years, referring to failed examples of giants like Twitter, Fitbit, and GoPro – Snap inc, makers of Snapchat, can change this attitude and lead by example as the company announced the launch of their IPO in 2017. We have also seen rumors coming from Airbnb, which would potentially lead to the single biggest IPO in history.
The Internet Of Everything Will Dominate Innovation Efforts
The IoT is set to penetrate across a range of industries and will bring connectivity to a completely different level, pushing forward industry 4.0
It means that the IoT, digital platforms, software, devices and people - everything will be connected to a degree, where technology will be capable of influencing economies, reshaping industries, changing people's lives, and creating new models of innovation.
In order to thrive, companies will have to be able to keep up and think away from what has been traditionally done, by considering ideas and solutions that in the past could sound heretical.
Following the uncertainties caused by the US elections and Brexit, next year we may see a dramatic change in the roles of dominant innovators. The changes and anti-immigration political rhetoric is likely to turn many of the top minds away from these countries, combined with difficulties from new regulations, laws and initiatives gives other countries the opportunity to become innovation hubs.
China is in the process of executing its new innovation strategy orientated on supporting domestic innovators and their initiatives. Plus, according to the CCS Insight report, in 2017, the Indian smartphone market is set to grow 26% which will put the country in the top 10 global smartphone makers.
So, it's highly likely that in 2017, a big chunk of investment will be redistributed towards more prospective innovators, where geographical borders for innovation will cease to exist.