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Why Technology and Thought Leadership Are Inextricably Linked

17/05/2016 12:54 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Humanity has always been guided and shaped by thinkers and thought leaders, such as Emanuel Kant, Adam Smith and Frederic Hayek. However, for the past decade or so, both society and the market have been stressing this concept in an unprecedented fashion.

So, why do we (a society guided by globalization) need to nurture thought leadership?

How global competition builds better mousetraps

The global market has grown stronger as nations have traded more freely, offering their citizens a variety of choices to meet their daily requirements. And production costs in all industrial sectors have fallen drastically due to cheap human capital in developing countries.

In fact, a fundamental objective of modern business economics is to reduce the prices of goods and services. But that objective can be fulfilled only by a competitive market (without much of government intervention).

The ultimate objective of thought leadership is to discover or invent new paths that can improve people's lives in both business and society.

Competition, in fact, has become the sole language of the globalized market. Therefore, organizations must always be vigilant against the next competitor that can build a better mousetrap.

That is why firms need people who can come up with new ideas to re-invigorate their deliverables. Be they individual experts, such as Peter Drucker, or specific firms or a cabinet of consulting, such as McKinsey -- all of these entities play the role of thought leaders.

Thought leadership through technology

The ultimate objective of thought leadership is to discover or invent new paths that can improve people's lives in both business and society.

Thought leaders use technology as a key tool to effect change in all spheres. They have to --technology has become the new human environment, rendering the same service to globalized economies that oxygen does to the human body.

Technology has an unquenchable thirst to challenge the status quo. It drives constant innovation and advancement, reducing the cost and time for a product, service or idea to reach its marketplace.

And most of the credit for technical advancement comes from the software industry.

Laying the groundwork for tomorrow's innovation

Luminaries such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Hasso Plattner and Narayana Murthy have transformed the way we work, and subsequently the way we deal with our lives. These towering figures are the pioneers in the field of modern day thought leadership in high tech.

The role of the thought leader will evolve into one that builds bridges between market and society.

Of course, not everyone can rise up to such heights in their lifetime.

But there is a new breed of thought leaders bobbing to the surface. These thought leaders -- or rather, social thinkers -- propagate their ideas with the help of blogs and other social media tools.

That may seem overwhelming, but it's a good thing: High-tech software needs more path-breaking innovation than any other technical or non-technical sector in the marketplace.

Going forward

Digital transformation, the Internet of Things and other innovations will further revolutionize human surroundings. Meanwhile, thought leaders will help society prepare itself for -- and respond to -- the digital transformation.

They will also help market leaders mould their research and development to make people-friendly products and services.

The role of the thought leader will evolve into one that builds bridges between market and society. And tomorrow's thought leaders will guide humanity as we shift our focus from the market to knowledge.

This article originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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