Boardroom briefing: tech emerging markets, business documentaries and food waste to power new ideas


Tech emerging markets are hubs for digital experiments, best business documentaries, and food waste to power-up start-ups. Readings from around the world on business, leadership and management.

What developing markets and developing technologies have in common

An analogy exists between technology innovation and emerging markets, according to Tarun Khanna, the Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at the Harvard Business School.

We use the term “emerging markets” when we talk about developing countries, where basic standards and institutions are still being defined,’ he says. ‘But you can have tech emerging markets too, where the ground rules for how to conduct business haven’t yet been specified.

‘In the first case, society hasn’t set up the rules or they’re not being enforced. In the second, society hasn’t developed the intellectual understanding to specify and codify what it requires of innovative companies. In both instances, it’s a lawless frontier.’

Arguably, PNG is an emerging market both in the traditional sense and also for tech.

A report, Digital Transformation: the role of mobile technology in Papua New Guinea, by the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) says PNG can become ‘a cradle for digital experiments’ using technologies such as blockchain.

‘There is an opportunity to harness the entrepreneurial energy PNG has to offer. A new generation of talented entrepreneurs is emerging.’

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Seeking motivation? Watch a business documentary

Sometimes the best way to find inspiration for your business or the next step in your career is to watch business documentaries that can inform as well as entertain.

Deep Patel, author of the book A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, compiled a list of 10 must-see business documentaries, including:

  • Generation Start-up (Cheryl Miller House and Cynthia Wade, 2016). The film explores Millennial start-up culture, following the efforts of six entrepreneurs trying to make it in the US.
  • Steve Jobs: One Last Thing (Sarah Hunt and Mimi O’Connor, 2011) This documentary examines the talent, leadership style and imagination of Apple’s co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi (David Gelb, 2011) The story of the humble restaurateur who transformed his sushi-only restaurant from a 10-seat venue to an award-winning small venue that charges over US$300 (K1,017) a plate.
  • Becoming Warren Buffett ( Peter K. Kunhardt, 2017) This documentary follows the life of this iconic business man and investor who became one of the richest—and most respected—men in the world.

Check out Patel’s top 10 list of business documentaries here.

The business of food waste

Every single year, about one-third of the global food production goes to waste. This, of course, has massive repercussions for business, farmers and the planet.

But could start-ups have a solution?

Apparently, they do. Take, for example, former chef Tom Fletcher in the UK, who founded Rejuce in 2012. His company only utilises ‘ugly and wonky’ fruit and vegetables to create concoctions that are sold in his shops and online. His company sells about 100,000 bottles of juice and smoothies a year in the UK alone.

Another example is Toast Ale. The non-profit organisation uses waste bread to make pale ales and craft lagers, repurposing about 13,000 slices of discarded bread every day. The byproduct of their brewing process is given to local farmers to be used as animal feed. So there is zero waste.

In PNG, food goes to waste because of the climatic conditions, poor roads and lack of proper methods of preservation. Creating businesses that use waste to develop new products could open up many possibilities.

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