Innovation: winner takes all?

Last year I had the opportunity to participate in the discussion on the future of the Hyperloop for European freight networks. Inspiring and promising, it strengthens the sustainable competitive position of our region in, e.g., e-commerce, agro and food sector, and service logistics. Consumption regions come closer with faster, more reliable, safer, and more sustainable transport. Dutch partners such as IHC, BAM, Goudsmit, and Tata Steel are working on the technological development of this export product.

Value of time

This fundamental innovation in European transport networks requires new supply chains based on time’s value. These supply chains are based on future-oriented concepts such as the ‘Physical Internet.’ Physical Internet is based on fully connected and open networks of logistic services in which physical objects are moved, stored, delivered, and used. These are concepts that require cooperation, including public-private collaboration. So how do you arrange that?

AC or DC?

On Netflix recently, the movie “The current war” came along. The film is about the 19th-century competition (1886-1893) between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla in electricity supply in the United States. It is about the battle between AC and DC (alternating current versus direct current) and who will ultimately serve the market. George Westinghouse eventually wins; winner takes all.

The film is instructive and unsettling about chain cooperation and networking at times. Innovating is not ‘sweet’:

  1. Think big, and not small. Set the bar high!
  2. Think in working solutions for the customer, don’t think in just the best technology.
  3. Think about achieving scale and speed of rollout, small steps take too much time; time-based competition.
  4. Don’t think of a win-win for everyone, unfortunately, it’s a tough ‘cutthroat’ world. You make the new rules of the game.
  5. You need money, lots of money.

In addition to being educational, the film is simply exciting, fun, and well made. So watch it.

Walther Ploos van Amstel

Photo: World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893

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