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10+ Social Media Ideas that Startups Must Follow in 2021 – ReadWrite

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Content Strategy Not Working? Here are the 6 Reasons Why - ReadWrite


Social media is a weapon of mass marketing. Brands like Nike, GoPro, Starbucks, have been dominating the social media space and encashing on the social media addiction of humans. Leading marketing aficionados agree that social media is a powerful tool that every brand must utilize to rule the digital world. But all these super successful bands have such unique social media feeds. How do you come up with such amazing social media ideas?

If the same question has been bugging you, we have got it covered for you.

In this write-up, we have mentioned some simple yet interesting social media ideas to keep your brand’s feed fresh.

1. Channelize the Power Of Micro-Influencers

Reaching out to industry influencers is an effective way to promote your products among a target audience. However, most influencers with a blue tick charge a hefty amount for a single Instagram post or tweet. Startups don’t have such an amount reserved for their marketing campaign. This is where micro-influencers can come to their rescue.

These are people who have a following between 10k and 100k. However, their following is much more loyal. Their conversion rate is much higher as they have a greater engagement with their following. These micro-influencers connect with their fans on a much more personal level.

Out of so many social media ideas, another great one is to get the micro-influencers to use your products and promote them in front of their fans. You can always share their posts using your product on your page to give a fresh look to your brand page and fill it with real-life people using your product.

2. Personalize the Feed With Selfies or Videos

While most brands like to keep their social media pages like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter professional, it is a great way to add a personal touch to personally connect with your fans on a personal level. In addition to having product images or ad copies and other things, you can add your pictures of videos.

Don’t go all out and put your personal life on display on your business social media page. One in every 10-15 posts is fine for social media. Even if you are creating videos, make sure your videos don’t go overboard. They should be well-balanced with your business profile yet give a breath of fresh air to your business’s social media presence.

3. Generate Curiosity With BTS Video Stories

With 92% of the marketers rooting for videos in their marketing strategy, it is important to have some kind of video on your page. BTS videos or Behind The Scene videos are a great way to keep your followers engaged and curious about your next campaign.

Whether you are shooting for an upcoming advertisement, planning for your next video, packing products, work-in-progress, or simply a BTS of people working in your office, such videos always generate curiosity. Give them a sneak peek into the creative process, the set-up, and the people to make them come back for more updates.

4. Regram, Retweet, And Share What Inspires You

Your brand’s social media page might become too overwhelmed with your product images and video. Give your audience some breathing space by posting content created by others once in a while. It would not just be something different for the followers but lessen your efforts too.

All you need to do is find some good quotes and share them on your page. Anything that inspires you, news about your industry, meaningful post, or anything else can be reshared on your social media. Not just that, you can also find people who have tagged you on social media and share their posts on your feed.

You don’t have to be all in-depth with each of your posts. It can be anything light, entertaining, or interactive.

Don’t shy away from regramming (reprogramming), retweeting, repinning, or resharing other’s content. And make sure you have given due credit to the original creator. By taking the “re” spin — it breaks the flow of your posts and gives you some time to create something more creative.

Also, it’s a great way to show your followers that you are a part of a conversation, and tagging you would get them featured on your page.

5. Make Use Of Reels & Short Stories

We all know that video content will reign in the coming years. And social media platforms are not shying away from encashing on this user behavior. Instagram and Facebook have come up with a short video concept in the form of reels and short stories respectively.

The human attention span needs a little excitement. People are no longer interested in spending minutes on a single video. Such short video content can be great for catching their attention.

You can use these reels or short stories to showcase more about your product or services. These can also be used for showing the testimonials of your clients. There are several filters, stickers, audios, and other things. There are different challenges as well on social media. You can always use the trending ones in a creative way to gain popularity for your brand.

6. Co-Marketing Goes a Long Way

A great way to amp up your business’s social media profile is by teaming up with another popular brand. There are different brands around you that are also looking to add versatility to their social media page. Co-marketing saves your efforts and helps you reach out to a newer audience base.

For example, a fitness brand can collaborate with a fashion designer to launch its own line of fitness wear. This way, you can have your name promoted on their social media and vice versa.

You can always team up with another brand that targets the same niche. This way, you’ll be able to reach out to their audience with synced efforts.

7. Tag-A-Friend Always Enhances Visibility

People love sharing pictures with their friends and tagging them on awesome posts. An amazing post idea is to get more engagement with ‘tag-a-friend’ posts. These posts could be all about some habits of people, memes, quotes, incidents, places, gifting options, or anything based on the industry you are in.

All you need to do is ask people to ‘tag-a-friend’ who comes to their mind first on seeing the post.

Such posts get conversations started in the comments and can boost your social media engagement. They gain much more visibility and your brand easily reaches out to more people that might become loyal followers really quick. Create posts that compel to be shared and ensure

8. Get Your Followers to Generate Content

Zomato, a leading food delivery app in India, recently announced a campaign. It asked its followers to create video ads for the brand and the best ad would win Rs 25 lakhs. This initiative got the brand a huge increase in following and gave it a whole new feed to showcase the followers. People loved the videos it kept sharing from the creators and it gave the feed a fresh look.

As a startup, you need not announce such a big-scale campaign. You can simply give away some freebies, a monthly membership, or similar things to your followers to create content. Encourage your followers to generate content for you and showcase that on your feed. This would not just create a new look for your feed but also help build trust that people are actually using your product.

9. Data-Rich Posts Get Maximum Shares

Have you recently conducted a survey or research? Do you have some numbers that can help others in the industry? Go ahead and create some interesting infographics or simple pictures with some interesting findings. These are sure to get a lot of shares among the industry peeps.

There are many tools in the market like Canva that can help you go innovative with the post. Make sure to use your brand colors to personalize the picture. Take inspiration from Hubspot’s Instagram page. They’ve brilliantly used their brand colors in creating info-rich pictures. Industry peeps love sharing them and get a lot of engagement online.

You can even have important numbers from your blogs or similar stuff and convert them into pictures to share on your social media pages.

10. Previews and Teasers are Great for Curiosity

Before launching any product, creating excitement for the same is imperative. This can be a great way to break the monotony of your social media feed and ignite excitement. Whatever new you are planning to announce, share a glimpse of it on your social media. It could be a simple BTS video, launch teaser, event preparation, or anything.

With the new feature of short videos like Reels, Short Videos, and Fleet, it is easier to create a video on the spot and share it with your followers. Create a buzz with it. Create FOMO or countdown for any new event, sale, launch, etc., to get maximum presence. Posts like launching soon, stay tuned, half pictures, etc., also look great when used smartly on social media to generate curiosity.

11. Maintain Consistency Around Brand Image

While it is great to experiment with your social media feed, a little bit of consistency would be great to create a lasting impression. Whether you use the brand colors, logos, fonts, images, or anything else, make sure that it has some element to reflect your brand.

Your brand voice needs to be consistent. There are many followers that might recognize your brand through visual means only – by the way your posts look, your style, etc. Make sure to retain such visual elements to ensure these followers can tell your brand out.

Other Social Media Strategies for Startups

While those are some awesome social media ideas for your feed, there are other social media strategies that can help strengthen your brand image. Be it Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform, here are some simple and cool social media strategies for startups.

Just the mention of the word ‘FREE’ grasps instant attention. And as a startup, you need not offer something extravagant in such giveaways. You can keep it small, even a discount coupon, trial membership, demo, or something similar. Announce it on social media and get more tags, mentions, and likes through such giveaways.

Video content is going to grow exponentially in 2021 and live videos will be a large part of it. The Covid times have made live videos even more popular. Almost every industry is pivoting its way of interacting with its customers and live videos are one of the most effective means. You can also make your followers participate in your events or simply have sessions with them talking about your brand answering their questions, etc.

  • AMAs Are Great For Engagement

A new trend that set out on social media was about AMA or Ask Me Anything. Whether we take Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media, many brands and celebrities are hosting such sessions to increase their engagement. This way you can engage with them and answer their questions about your brand.

  • Takeovers Are Effortlessly Raging

Another thing that many of the social media pages are doing currently is takeovers. That is, you give your social media page to be handled by someone else. They bring a fresh perspective to your brand and give it a new look to your feed. This takeover could be for a day or a week. And the best part is, you have to put in zero effort. The person taking over would handle your social media feed for the time period.

  • Ask For Followers’ Opinions With Polls

People love it when their opinions are valued. Get polls before starting with a new product. You can have polls for different things and get to know their interests, likes, dislikes, and much more. This would help you get a closer insight into what’s going on in your followers’ mind about your brand,

  • Organize Highlights For Professional Look

Another cool way to make your social media brand page look even more professional is to organize the entire page. Don’t make it look cluttered and unkept. A quick way to do the same is by organizing the highlights that are present on your profile.

  • Ephemeral Content Never Dies

As ironic as it is, ephemeral content has been increasing in popularity since Snapchat came up with the idea. And this concept of short-lived, disappearing content is going to be here for a long time. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, all have the concept of disappearing content. Make use of this amazing social media idea to infuse the fear of missing out in your audience.

On an Ending Note

Social media is a double-edged sword. It can help build massive loyalty for your brand in a short time. But at the same time, a small error in messaging can instantly hurt their sentiments, leading to PR nightmares.

Follow the 80:20 rule on social media to keep churning out new content without putting too much on the shoulders of the content creators. It is important that your brand’s feed remains versatile yet consistent to offer new content but remind them that it’s your brand in the end.

Make sure that you are regular with posting. Plan ahead and have a social media calendar in place. Make sure your feed never dies and is consistently offering some content to keep your brand alive in their memory.

Swati Sharma

Swati Sharma is an avid reader and a passionate writer. She is a technology enthusiast working with Classic Informatics, a global web development company. Swati loves to stay updated with everything related to technology in the digital-first world.

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How to Build a Startup Team With an Entrepreneurial Mindset – ReadWrite

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Nate Nead


Much of your startup’s success will depend on the quality and integrity of the team you put together. With talented, committed, hardworking people, even a merely decent idea can turn into something groundbreaking. Conversely, even a great idea can struggle to survive if it doesn’t have a solid team in place to support it. 

Obviously, you’ll need to work hard to choose the right people for your team – individuals with a solid experiential background, proof of ample talent, and genuine passion for the business. But beyond that, you’ll need to work actively to equip your team with the right mindsets and philosophies to guide them to productive, innovative work. 

While there are conflicting opinions for what type of company culture works “best,” there’s no denying that your company can (and likely will) benefit from building a team with an “entrepreneurial mindset.” But what is this mentality, and how can you construct it from scratch? 

What Is an “Entrepreneurial Mindset?” 

Let’s start with a description of the “entrepreneurial mindset.” This is an internalized mentality, philosophy, and approach to working within the members of your team that mimics what the most ambitious entrepreneurs tend to feel. 

The mindset includes: 

  • Creativity. Entrepreneurs are creative types. They want to create new ideas, modify existing ones, and come up with inventive new ways to deal with problems. They’re not afraid to think outside the box and try out new concepts – even if they don’t work out. They also like to encourage and promote creative ideas from other people, providing feedback, direction, and motivation to their teammates. 
  • Autonomy and independence. The entrepreneurial mindset also prioritizes autonomy and independence. Entrepreneurs in a business environment don’t wait for someone else to tell them what to do, and they generally don’t have to run their ideas through a bureaucratic chain of command to take action. Instead, they trust themselves, they operate decisively, and they remain agile. In an entrepreneurial environment, your employees will function autonomously in most cases as well. 
  • Change and growth. To be an entrepreneur is to accept the importance of change and growth. The only way for your business to reach more people and make more money is to evolve; that means adding new products and services, changing internal processes, and sometimes, pivoting the entire brand. 
  • Experimentation and adaptation. You probably already know how important it is to remain flexible and adaptable when growing your business. It’s also important for your workforce. With an entrepreneurial mindset, your team of employees will be much more likely to experiment with different approaches and adapt to new scenarios. 
  • Ambitious problem solving. Successful business owners are primarily ambitious problem solvers; they understand there’s some weakness or challenge in the world and are driven to “fix it.” With this mentality, your employees will be more likely to show enthusiasm when solving problems and rising to meet challenges. 

The Value of an Entrepreneurial Team 

So what’s the real value of an entrepreneurial team? 

For starters, you can cut back on direct management and oversight. When all members of your team feel like they have a direct impact on their work environment, and when they’re empowered to do their best, they don’t need as much direction or supervision. Instead of looking over their shoulder, giving them project details, or micromanaging your employees, you can set priorities for them, trust that they’re going to work toward them, and shift your attention to more important matters. This lends itself to a less stressed, more inviting workplace – and allows you to be more productive while tackling the most important projects for your startup

An entrepreneurial mindset also leads to a diversity of thought. When individuals are encouraged to have their own ideas, thoughts, and opinions, they tend to speak more openly in a collaborative environment. They’re more willing to volunteer ideas, offer constructive criticism, and provide meaningful feedback to each other. Such an environment makes it much easier to identify and get rid of bad ideas (before it’s too late), while simultaneously establishing the groundwork for the presentation of highly ingenious concepts. 

Additionally, startups need to keep adapting if they’re going to stay alive. Over time, your target market might change, you might face new competition, and new challenges will threaten your previous approaches. The only way forward is to adapt, incorporating new systems and processes and changing your infrastructure. Ordinarily, teams of employees are reluctant to adapt – after all, most of us don’t particularly like change. However, when the team accepts the importance and value of ongoing adaptability, they’ll be much more likely to be onboard with your latest changes and experiments. 

How to Build a Startup Team With an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Now for the big question – how can you build an entire startup team with a baked-in entrepreneurial mindset? 

  • Create the culture. Everything stems from your company culture. Before you employ any of the following strategies, make sure you have a solid idea for what you want your company culture to be. What are your core values? What is the “ideal” employee mindset? How should this mindset be fostered? What rules exist, if any, to enforce this? Document your company culture guidelines first. 
  • Choose the right candidates. With a culture document in place, you’ll find it much easier to interview candidates – and find out whether they’re a good fit for this environment. Even if they have a lot of talent and experience, they may not thrive in an entrepreneurial workplace; figure this out early, before you hire someone. 
  • Lead by example. You’re the leader, so set the tone. People will follow your example. Whatever habits you want your employees to practice, incorporate them into your own daily work. 
  • Nurture from the top down. You’re not the only leader within your organization, so make sure you select and support strong leaders who can embody and spread your desired entrepreneurial culture from the top down. 
  • Encourage independent management and decision making. Sometimes, employees will have to run their idea “up the ladder” before taking action. But as much as possible, it’s important to encourage autonomy and independent decision making. Empower your employees to make their own decisions, set their own goals, and devise their own approaches to work.  
  • Stimulate creativity. Creativity is vital for an entrepreneurial mindset to thrive. Use creative brainstorming sessions, music, art, and other exercises to encourage your team to think in novel ways. 
  • Get everyone to contribute in meetings. Encourage every member of your team to contribute in your meetings. More contributors will foster an environment of openness and collaborative sharing; it will also help you ferret out the best ideas, which otherwise might be held back by nervous participants. 
  • Reward good ideas. When a member of your team comes up with a good idea or solves a complex problem, reward them and publicly praise them. It will encourage further idea generation in the future and motivate other team members to volunteer their own ideas. 
  • Respect bad ideas. It’s not just about good ideas; it’s also important to tolerate and even respect bad ideas. When someone volunteers a questionable idea or makes a poor decision, show your support. Feel free to offer feedback and criticism, but don’t make the person feel bad for trying to do something inventive or helpful. You don’t want to punish people for trying something new. 
  • Remain adaptive. The most innovative, disruptive businesses are the ones that can adapt. Encourage your team members to remain similarly adaptable, keeping an open mind for new ideas and being willing to change when necessary. 

Once your team is full of people thinking and acting like entrepreneurs, your company will be much more flexible, innovative, and productive. And best of all, this entrepreneurial culture tends to be self-sustaining; your employees will naturally spread it to new recruits and continue to foster this creative, efficient environment. 

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO & Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and software development. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, capital procurement, technology and marketing solutions for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Will AI dominate in 2021? A Big Question – ReadWrite

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Faraz Qureshi


In 2020, AI had rapid transformations and unexpected developments along with excellent innovations. We, as humans have entered into the most digitalized era of all times.

Due to the pandemic of coronavirus, technology has become the central focus like never before. Internet and social media witnessed a tremendous boost as well. No doubt but the COVID-19 brought about massive success to most technological fields.

Will AI dominate in 2021? A Big Question

With progressive developments and advanced modifications in technology, Artificial Intelligence needs no introduction. This groundbreaking technology has been so promising for the past several years and is moving at an advanced pace.

We are Captivated by Artificial Intelligence

Agreeing with the fact that the technologies are captivating us completely with their interesting innovations and gadgets. From Artificial intelligence to machine learning, IoT, big data, virtual and augmented reality, Blockchain, and 5G; everything seems to take over the world way too soon.

Keeping it to the topic of Artificial Intelligence, this technology has expanded its grip on our lives without even making us realize that fact. In the days of the pandemic, the IT experts kept working from home and the tech-grounds kept witnessing smart ideas and AI-driven innovations.

Artificial Intelligence is also the new normal.

Artificial Intelligence is going to be the center of our new normal and it will be driving the other nascent technologies to the point towards success. Soon, AI will be the genius core of automated and robotic operations.

In the blink of an eye, Artificial Intelligence can be seen adopted by companies so rapidly and is making its way into several sectors. 2020 has seen this deployment on a wider scale as the AI experts were working from home but the progress didn’t see a stop in the tech fields.

For the year 2021, Artificial Intelligence is expected to level up to a great extent and is going to deliver phenomenal AI implementation.

Artificial Intelligence in 2021

Even if we talk about the days before the pandemic, AI and ML were already causing drastic changes and widespread disruption in all sectors and industries. Now after the whole year that is passed in the quarantine, in 2021 — we are expecting everything to resume back to normal.

Artificial intelligence and related technologies are going to be the biggest key components that would be impacting almost every sector. Yes, this impact is definitely going to be highly positive so we don’t have to look at the darker side — yet.

With the passing of time, AI would become a key trend that will reshape our home, personal, and work life. This can be pretty alarming right away but soon you will find the advantages that AI will bring.

-The global artificial intelligence software market is estimated to grow speedily in the coming years and would reach up to $126 billion by 2025, a recent report reflected.

In this article, I will show you the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the whole world. With the below-written trends, you will be able to gain an insight into how Artificial Intelligence is reshaping every sector.

It is predicted that whoever leads artificial intelligence in 2030 will continue to rule the world in 2100.

Trends in Artificial Intelligence for 2021

Will AI dominate in 2021? It is the hottest topic and the biggest question running through everybody’s mind.

Hyperautomation:

Artificial Intelligence is going to bring a huge change in the industry and in almost all sectors. We are looking forward to seeing Hyperautomation in every field. This is basically the idea of embedding everything with the automated processes. The repetitive tasks must be done with automation.

AI-powered solutions will help businesses a lot over here and would help these businesses to be redefined. Intelligent technologies will also reshape workplaces with phenomenal capabilities.

AI-driven dynamic operating models:

Most industries are going to adopt Artificial Intelligence for data-driven strategies and to come up with smart technologies and solutions. Due to the pandemic, almost every business has witnessed a loss. Now, everybody is pretty clear that their future plans need to be smoothed out, via Artificial intelligence.

Also, Artificial intelligence is going to bring rapid changes in decision-making as well. Companies look forward to saving their time and cost both and this would be enabled by using the AI.

Autonomous operations for increased efficiency:

In almost every sector, management looks for options that can help the company to be efficient and more secure than ever. AI will bring a boost and the businesses will implement the technology to bring autonomous operations on the stage that will enhance efficiency and the processes will get simplified.

Multiple technologies will play a significant role and the AI will become the center of the activities. Taking care of all the operations and making them more simplified and enhanced, AI will play a vital plank.

AI Engineering:

The field of Artificial intelligence engineering is on the rise. People look forward to pursuing their career paths in the niche of AI to get a secure job future. CEOs and IT leaders of the company are looking forward to deploying new artificial intelligence systems that are maintained and more simplified.

AI is also becoming the core of education and we are going to witness a huge change in the education field knowing as the personalized learning in the form of ML or machine learning. Companies are also going to go for robust engineering strategies to enhance performance.

Convergence of AI into AIoT:

The AI and IoT are turning old concepts into the new concept of AIoT — and it’s on the rise. The internet of things and artificial intelligence are being combined to come up with a newer form of technology. Adding AI into the IoT would help the AIoT to complete the tasks and to learn the data without the involvement of humans.

AIoT will be a lot more defined and will dominate the tech industry. Up to 21% of homes will become smart homes in 2021. AIoT will also be able to adjust in the cities and buildings.

Edge AI:

Another amazing concept is brought about by Artificial intelligence and the technology of the internet of things. Edge-AI is the technology of moving the decision-making process seamlessly and the provision of secure and analyzed data is the responsibility of edge AI as well. This is the pure blend of edge computing and artificial intelligence.

With the help of edge-AI, the smart devices would use AI algorithms and edge computing to come up with the data processing. This will be deployed to every smart gadget and device including mobiles, laptops, drones, robots, self-driven cars, and cameras, etc.

The total cost of AI:

Earlier, it was considered as only the tech giants can use the AI technology but now the startups and the small software initiatives can also look out for the deployment of Artificial intelligence. It is now more accessible to all the companies and they can use the tools of their choice along with the frameworks.

The projects that are powered by AI and ML are expected to grow tremendously. The companies are looking forward to integrating AI into their systems and making their processes go seamless.

Explainable AI:

Explainable AI is going to be in the trend of 2021 and is going to dominate for sure. The explainable AI would help the data scientists to create trust across all the companies and the merchandise that are dealing with the AI and ML projects. The model explainability will also be kept in front of AI experts.

The biggest artificial intelligence vendor, Google, has also offered the development tools and frameworks revolving around the concept of explainable AI. We are looking forward to seeing some more interesting projects that are based on the explainable modules of AI.

Quantum computing on rise:

If we say AI is here to stay — then it would definitely not be wrong. As we can see that along with AI, quantum computing is also on the rise. Here AI will combine with the quantum theory that revolves around the concept of computer technology and its principles. Both the technologies together are going to bring drastic changes.

With the increased demand for computer science and technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing are the most thriving technologies of the industry.

AI as the service:

The demand for AI is rapidly increasing. People are looking for the experts of AI and the professionals who can create custom AI projects so this is indirectly helping the artificial intelligence experts to rise in demand. These professionals are working to provide IT services as well.

Artificial intelligence will continue to thrive for a very long so if the students are going to opt for this career field, they are definitely going to land a bright future.

Parting Shot:

Artificial Intelligence will continue to dominate the world in 2021. It will soon take over every sector and industry and will continue to thrive.

Faraz Qureshi

Faraz Qureshi is one of the most eminent and exceptional content writers, who has been a part of the writing industry for quite some time now. He has also been associated with assignmentmaster.co.uk as a research analyst. He has the skills to mold the words that impress others immediately.

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How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth? – ReadWrite

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The Communication Pain Points for Remote Teams (and How to Solve Them) - ReadWrite


Millions of would-be startup entrepreneurs, software developers, and other innovators are struggling. They want to create new products, design new technologies, and introduce the world to new heights of productivity and wellbeing. But we’re entering an era of slowed technological growth – at least in some ways.

How Do We Innovate in a World of Slowing Growth?

Innovation is at the heart of any thriving economy. New technologies mean new companies, new jobs, and new opportunities for all existing companies – not to mention a higher quality of life for everyone involved (in most cases). But if our rate of innovation is unsustainable, where do we go from here?

Are We Really Slowing?

First, let’s explore the idea that innovation is slowing down – because it’s not a foregone conclusion. There are strong signs that innovation is slowing in some respects, but other experts have argued that many of these forms of deceleration are temporary.

For starters, productivity growth in the United States has been slowing consistently over the past few decades.

In the 1950s, American productivity was increasing by more than 3 percent each year. By the 1980s, that rate of increase had fallen to 2 percent, and today, the rate of increase is less than 1 percent annually.

What accounts for this slowing over the past few decades?

There are several potential factors. For starters, research-centric universities like MIT and Harvard were getting more funding and more attention. Major corporations like General Electric and Ford were investing heavily in R&D departments.

And technologies originally developed during World War II (often to fuel the war effort) were commercialized and distributed, with widespread access to them for the first time.

Some experts have suggested that the lack of innovation is a direct result of a lack of investment. If we invest more heavily in R&D in corporate departments and universities alike — we’d be able to see better results.

But this doesn’t necessarily stand to reason; our R&D spending is, collectively, many times higher than it’s ever been before. And yet, the productivity rate growth remains.

Is technological innovation to blame? How can that be?

Others suggest that this is the inevitable effect of technological innovation, which we would see in any society of intelligent beings. Major breakthroughs in technology function like low-hanging fruit; they’re relatively easy to brainstorm, and it’s only a matter of time before they get developed.

Once developed, breakthroughs increase our capacity and make other “low-hanging fruit” technologies easier to think up and develop. From the 1700s through the 1950s, we saw the development of technologies like the steam engine, running electricity, nuclear power, and of course, the internet.

What’s New in Tech?

But now that we’re here, the low-hanging fruit is no longer available. Scientists and researchers are spending all their efforts making our existing technology better – not necessarily coming up with something new.

We’re developing quantum computers as a kind of last area of research for computers, since we’re already pushing up against the boundaries of physics as we know it today.

We’re coming up on some hard limits of human knowledge.

Our model of physics is relatively unchanged since the 1980s. We haven’t made many major advancements in fields like chemistry for decades. And Moore’s Law, which once practically dictated the pace of improvement for transistors — is at its end.

Are we on a tech plateau?

That said, there are some arguments that we’re merely on a temporary plateau. The idea is that, sooner or later, new technology will come along to help us ascend to new heights, opening the door to other technological developments. For example, next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) could make it possible to solve problems that are currently unthinkably hard to address.

What about rates of productivity growth?

There’s also the argument that slowing rates of productivity growth are actually because of innovation, not due to a lack of it. When innovation happens quickly or occurs in an unexpected direction, it can disrupt the economy in such a way that interferes with GDP growth.

For example, when the internet began to encroach on the territory of newspaper companies, it shrunk the profitability of an entire industry.

Directions for Innovation

So how do we continue to innovate in an era with slowing growth?

There are a handful of important possibilities to note:

  • “First principles” thinking. One of the most important avenues for progression is going to be “first principles” thinking. In other words, we need to return to the ground level and rethink some of our longest-standing assumptions. When it comes to innovation, we tend to upgrade various components of an existing system or machine. For example, cars haven’t fundamentally changed in many decades; every component of modern cars is superior, in some way, to older variants, but we’re still working with an engine and four wheels. First principles thinking would encourage us to start from scratch, reimagining what a “car” is from the ground up and challenging our previous assumptions.
  • Lateral expansion. We could also attempt to innovate and expand laterally. Admittedly, this doesn’t qualify as “innovation” in the purest sense. Rather than inventing something totally new, you’ll be entering new, previously unexplored territory. That could be something as simple as reaching a new target audience with your digital advertising strategy, or as complex as introducing a new industry to a developing country that currently lacks it. Existing technology is highly advanced, but not all people of the world can access it equally. New audience targeting, geographic expansion, and cost cutting can all help us progress in this area.
  • Combination and repackaging. In the past decade, most of our best “innovations” have been novel ways of combining and repackaging other existing technologies. For example, the pinnacle of modern technology is, in many ways, the smartphone. But even Apple’s first-generation iPhone didn’t introduce many new features; calling, texting, emailing, and browsing the internet were all already in existence. They just weren’t packaged together conveniently. Since then, we’ve seen many new phone models, but the upgrades are relatively minor, such as more detailed cameras and slightly faster processors.

Supporting Further Innovation

Innovation doesn’t typically happen in a vacuum. It most often happens in dense teams, with strong leaders, and the backing of tons of interested investors and supportive partners. In other words, our best innovators need support.

So how do we, collectively, support further innovation and growth?

  • Investment. One straightforward method is to pour mor money into research and development. With more investment, scientists, inventors, and developers can do more. Of course, there are some limitations here; our R&D spending is higher than ever, yet it’s not giving us a steady conveyor belt of new technologies.
  • Risk. Culturally, we need to embrace risk and rethinking long-standing structures and systems. It’s a risky move to rethink our concept of a car from the ground up, especially if you’re starting a brand new company to do it.
  • Public recognition. We also need to recognize that innovation is slowing and behave accordingly, as consumers. The most recent iPhone isn’t substantially different than the previous generation; perhaps we can throw our enthusiasm behind more novel, innovative presentations.
  • Political theories. It’s also worth noting that people from different political backgrounds have different ideas for tackling this issue. For example, some could suggest the best solution is to foster a truly free, capitalistic market that naturally encourages entrepreneurs. Others may believe that more government control and investing could develop ideas that a free market may not support.

Toward the Next Generation of Technology

The human thirst for innovation and growth is unquenchable, so if we’re currently in the middle of a technological slowdown, the optimistic view is that this is only temporary. We’ll continue making iterative progress in areas that can continue progressing and eventually stumble upon a major breakthrough that forces us to reconsider everything we used to know.

However, if we’re going to find that new technological breakthrough, and support a healthy economy while we wait for its arrival — it’s important that we recognize this slowdown and foster innovation in any way we can.

Productivity increases may have slowed, but they’re still increasing – and that should give us plenty of momentum to keep growing for decades to come.

Image Credit: susanne jutzeler; pexels – thank you

Timothy Carter

Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer of the Seattle digital marketing agency SEO.co, DEV.co & PPC.co. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO and digital marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he’s not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach…preferably in Hawaii with a cup of Kona coffee.

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