Richard Florida publicó un interesante artículo en The Atlantic llamado The Global Innovation Paradox, en el que llama la atención sobre un concepto novedoso en la competitividad de países y regiones:
Fortunately, over time, we've come to understand that R&D no longer just takes place in giant R&D labs, and that innovation occurs in many types of organizations and places, from university labs to small startup companies, independent inventors and entrepreneurs to global labs. My former colleague Wes Cohen , now an economist at Duke University, and Daniel Levinthal developed the construct of "absorptive capacity" to explain this shift; firms have to be able to absorb as well as create new knowledge and innovation. As the former director of R&D at Hewlett Packard once told me: "My predecessors used to be able to create all the new information and knowledge they would ever need inside our labs. But now, there is so much information out there, everywhere across the world, I need people who have the networks and ability to absorb it wherever it comes from and synthesize and make it useful to our operations."
Todo país que se precie apunta a tener una política activa de promoción a la innovación y el desarrollo. Sin embargo, la "capacidad de absorción" parece ser tanto o más importante que la habilidad de innovar. De hecho, partiendo de nuestra natural incapacidad para pensarnos a largo plazo, Argentina podría especializarse en ser la mejor "esponja" de innovaciones generadas a extramuros.
De acuerdo con Florida, el fenómeno de tercerización de servicios deriva luego en la externalización de procesos de inversión, lo cual no hace más que reforzar las oportunidades surgidas de la absorción:
In these key sectors of the economy, innovation appears to be following production off-shore. I recently spent an evening with the founder of a leading high-end road bike company. He told me that when he started the company, some high-end road bike frames were still being made in North America, but more and more of the manufacturing was shifting to lower-wage off-shore locations, principally in China. Over time, virtually all manufacturing would shift there. But still, the high-end design and engineering was performed in the U.S. Not so anymore, he said: Now virtually all the design and engineering of high-end road bike frames had also followed manufacturing off-shore.