Ancient Greece had two words for time: “kronos” and “kairos.” Kronos is the ordinary passage of linear time. In technology, we define “kairos time” as the moment when the accumulation and rate of change combine to affect non-linear, radical change.
With a near-universal market of 6 billion, generating $2.5 trillion in annual economic value, this “kairos time” of mobile – internet convergence has generated the 5th computing wave in 50 years. Ramping faster than the mainframe, minicomputer, personal computer, and desktop internet waves, the size and accessibility of the market has unleashed an unprecedented wave of innovation, disrupting the mobile, internet, media and entertainment, and advertising sectors with a torrent of new offerings.
In the transition from one wave to another, the leader becomes a victim of “kairos time.” The law of large organizations is that they confuse efficiency and scale with innovation, and, constrained by their technological and commercial interdependencies, they miss—or are unable to adapt to—the next cycle of innovation.
For agile innovators this is a time of miracles and wonder. Multitudes of companies, recognizing the asset value of mobile internet technology, are innovating rapidly, hoping they will be the next Google. Most will fail; others will survive independently, or become acquired by the market leaders.
The Fifth Wave is a sea-change event, technologically, socially, politically, and commercially. It presents an opportunity for Israel, the world leader in R&D investment as a proportion of GDP. The leaders have yet to emerge. Will Israeli companies be among them…?
Robert Marcus is currently writing a book entitled ‘The 5th Wave’, together with Collins Hemmingway, best known for partnering with Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to co-author the #1 best-selling book Business @ the Speed of Thought.