A big tsunami of change is coming, says think tank leader Sony Kapoor

What is the role of clusters in challenging times that lies ahead? Sony Kapoor, leader of the international think tank Re-define and economic adviser to governments and companies, shares his thoughts.

Published 5th June 2019

About Sony Kapoor

In plain text

– I'm Sony Kapoor, I run a think tank called Re-define, and we advise governments and companies on economics and finance.

Why are you here in Molde today?

– I am here to talk to the industrial cluster iKuben about what the various secular trends, of

  • the fact that we live in a resource-constrained world,

  • the fact that climate change is having already a significant impact on the world,

  • the fact that renewables costs have fallen to a level where it's significantly more competitive than coal and gas in most countries now,

  • and other such big trends in the world.

What they [the secular trends, editor´s note] mean for the Norwegian economy in general, and the cluster and its business models in particular, and what they might need to start thinking about changing over the next five to ten years.

How do you see the industrial clusters role in all of this?

– I think it's going to be extremely important. If you look at comparable examples, for example in the “Mittelstand” in Germany, as well as in China, cluster formation and the trading of knowledge across and within the particular industry, are increasingly important in a cross-disciplinary manner.

Most innovation actually happens across different industry groups and centres of expertise.

What clusters allow companies, small companies, to do, is to develop expertise beyond what they could otherwise: develop collaboration and partnerships. Tap into export markets. Tap into both national and international expertise. Also, to perform a range of things that would be beyond their grasp as a single small company in Norway.

Clusters are where the future of innovation, the future of scaling up and response to secular trends are going to come from.

So what do you think the leaders and the employees that are gathered in the cluster here today should take home after seeing your talk?

– I think that the main message to to take home would be that it's important to have self recognition. That the day-to-day level of comfort, where things are – you know, in Molde, in Norway, in the global economy today, in the oil and gas sector, in maritime, – they're reasonably comfortable.

And there isn't a huge shock, you know, coming [now]. Or in the past few months for example. This can in all human beings breed a sense of complacence.

We project our present experience to the recent experiences forward. But underneath this calm there's a big tsunami of change coming, and that is what we need to be prepared for.

Stress test business models and assumptions

– So it's important, I would say, to go back and stress test our business models, our product mix, our assumptions, to some of these big secular trends.

The fact that resources are becoming much more constrained, the fact that oil and gas does not have a bright future, the fact that change is coming through digitization, through changing demographics, and through changing technology, at a speed that we have not seen any time in the recent past.

So we need to be putting in place innovations, research and development, new product development, new partnerships, and strategies, that will be successful in the shape of the world as it is going to look like in 10 to 20 years. Not just what it was in the past 5 years, or as it is in the next one, or two years.

Read more about Sony Kapoor

The international think tank Re-define

TED-talk - A financial dystopian future - Sony Kapoor

World Econmic Forum - author presentation on Sony Kapoor

Sony’s loomberg View columns 
Download the Report on Sustainability and Investment "The Promise of Sustainable Investing"

Download the Report on long-term investing "Winter is coming"

Download our Report on the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund "Investing for the Future"

Tittetips: Sony Kapoors videokronikk fra NRK: “Norge, jeg elsker deg, men vi må ta en prat”

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