Gabriel Cogo (Brazil) - IT Innovation in Brazil

There are some disruptive contradictions for managers when they're trying to run their company. Should they try their best to reduce costs? Or invest all they can, taking a chance in getting ahead of the competition? Well, the only way to do that is to invest in innovation, and to invest in innovation is to increase production costs. A teacher once said to me that the only way to increase earnings is through innovation. Reducing costs can be a good strategy in the short-term, but can result in middle/long term stagnation. This is especially true when talking about the IT market. Not all companies can be like Apple and create something new every year, but they innovate to the point where the company can provide something different than the competition.

Brazilian IT companies haven't been exactly focusing on the innovation part. Mostly because there are still some side effects of the crisis in the global economy that makes big investments even more risky, but also the typical Brazilian CIO behavior takes hold i.e. they still think that their focus should be in reducing costs, instead in bringing new ideas to the business. I have to agree, though, that this type of attitude is slowly changing, and even the government is supporting new projects that focus in helping the growth of the IT market in Brazil.

One of the most interesting new projects is in Porto Alegre, a state capital localized in the south region, where a semiconductors factory is being made to produce and support new ideas from the academic area. It still is not enough to make a big impact, but the most important change that it demonstrates is that Brazil can successfully produce IT knowledge, and it has capable professionals to compete with others from around the world.

When talking about innovation, it's important to remember that it isn't just about putting a new product on the shelves. Most of the things that can make a difference in the competitive IT market are simple changes; especially in the way IT business handle their processes. As Google and Facebook showed, thinking outside the box can be a good (and profitable) thing.

Gabriel Cogo is studying for a Masters in Systems Information and Decision Analysis at UFRGS and has been working as a Sales Analyst for Gerdau SA.


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