May 1, 2011

Innovation against crisis

The latest unemployment figures in Spain have been disclosed this week. Sadly, there are more than 5 million people, equivalent to more than 21% of the Spanish population with working age. It is not a nightmare, but it could easily be. Not long ago we were talking about the doomed 4 million figure and now it is 5.

Not long ago some stats were also made public concerning the number of yearly working hours in OECD countries. Surprisingly, Spain came third, just trailing Greece and the US. Believe it or not, people - those who actually have a job - work in Spain. But seems like our productivity sucks.

But the main problem in my view is that we are still a country stuck in the past. Though we could be regarded as pioneers in areas such as renewable energies, the burden of the construction sector is still with us, we lack an entrepreneurial culture, many people would rather live from multiple public subsidies rather than from a real job, our GDP investment rate in R&D is poor at the very least... how can a country move away from what has been its core - and does not work any more?

A crisis like the one we are suffering should be the best stimulus for a change but I couldn't be more wrong. I'd expect a real an definitive push from public officials but considering our politicians from all colors - easily the worst in the world, more focused on the next election and on keeping their seats, rather than on bringing a new start to the country - we will need change to come from somewhere else. And if it is not the public sector, it will have to be the private one. And that means our larger and more international corporations and us average Joe's betting on new areas of work, new ideas, new products, new technologies, new ways of doing business... In a nutshell, innovation.

I am not a natural-born pessimistic but I would lie if I said that I see things happening as they should across the board shortly. Nonetheless, I'd love to be wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment