Leapfrogging innovation: How emerging markets manage change in the age of rapid digital transformation

by Aissata Coulibaly, Senior Manager - EY Luxembourg

Digital technologies are changing today across the world much faster than most companies can keep up with. EY research indicates that companies across a broad spectrum of activities believe that digital technologies have a specific capacity to unlock emerging economies. In China and India for instance, the world’s second and seventh largest economies respectively, we have seen tele-densities (which is the number of phone connections for every hundreds individuals) growing from less than 10% to 80% in a span of 15 years only. This generated tremendous development which was achieved through the leap frog effect as landline technologies have been by passed and next generation of mobile platforms massively adopted. The growth and impact of mobile telephony in emerging economies has therefore demonstrated how the lack of legacy infrastructure and business model can actually be an advantage. In fact, over the past decades, emerging economies have demonstrated how agile they were in term of leapfrogging rather than simply catching up western competitors by starting from a blank page in many key markets driven by new technologies.