What is Leapfrogging for Sustainability?

By Aurelien

What is leapfrogging? The first thing that could pop up in your mind is the game we all played as kids:

Leapfrog game 1950

In the theory of innovation

In the theory of innovation (and in particular in Schumpeter’s) however, leapfrogging refers to the ‘breakthrough innovations’ leading to the ‘creative destruction’ cycle, as opposed to smaller, incremental innovation steps. The new breakthrough innovation often comes to swipe away the previous technology consequently becoming obsolete. In most cases, the new breakthrough comes in at a time where the current technology has already saturated the market: think of electrical locomotives replacing steam locomotives, or mobile phones replacing landline phones (in developed countries).

Innovation LifeCycle

But with leapfrogging, the breakthrough comes in even before the current technology has reached market saturation or has even been introduced at all. A typical example is the adoption of mobiles phones instead of landline phones in emerging countries, such as Vietnam shown below (click on the picture to enlarge):

Fixed line vs mobile penetration rates in Vietnam

Leapfrogging in sustainable development

In the context of sustainable development and in particular for developing countries, leapfrogging refers to “skipping inferior, less efficient, more expensive or more polluting technologies and industries and move directly to more advanced ones” (source: Wikipedia article on Leapfrogging). Because there is an opportunity to learn from mistakes of the so-called “brown economy”,  the green economy is a ”chance for emerging and developing economies to leapfrog unsustainable and wasteful production and consumption patterns” (source: OECD report on ‘Green Growth and Developing Countries’).

Less efficient, more polluting technologies

Worldchanging.com founder Alex Steffen clearly explained this concept in his TED talk as a fundamental and preliminary step among others on the route to a sustainable future (jump at 8″36′):

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Introducing… the Leapfrog Project

With these concepts in mind we started the Leapfrog Project, an innovative approach to boost the leapfrogging potential of the next generation of eco-imagineers in emerging countries. For this matter, we’ve partnered with best-in-class organizations: the TU Delft University (Netherlands), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and instances of National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPC).

The Leapfrog Project

In the coming weeks and months, we will drive you through the journey and backstage of this project with a series of blog posts. So bear with us and… follow the frog :wink:

My company is small, but my products are increasingly complex

By Paul

Small business cloud computingUntil now, the best product development tools were within the reach of only large companies, with teams of IT technicians and administrators.

Small companies have often had to compromise and make do with second best. But the pressure on increasing product, process and eco-system complexity makes second-best uncompetitive.

Cloud solutions level the playing field, removing the “barriers to entry” for small engineering companies. The infrastructure, system security, administration, installation and maintenance is automatic, allowing engineers to concentrate on innovation.

Watch BHR Aerospace describe on video how CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE on the Cloud provides  the framework for an innovative new helicopter program.

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The installation was fast and simple; Secure and Collaborative tools are available at the click of a mouse; the right data is available anytime, anywhere and easy and flexible   mechanical simulation means no more physical prototyping!

Find out how large company product development capabilities are now available to SMBs.

Paul Mackin is a member of the CATIA Brand Marketing team.

Offer more products while decreasing the number of parts. Get your personalized white paper about modularity!

By Diana

According to J. Källgren of Modular Management,

Industrial Equipment companies have every interest in working with their clients as early as possible so that they can suggest design improvements or convince the client to use their type of equipment. In this way, lead times go down for everyone and customers obtain a more cost-effective price than if everything is specifically tailored for them.

If you’d like to know more about modularity here is a short extract of the white paper we prepared for you:

A company’s survival depends on its ability to manufacture products that people are willing to buy. In today’s market economy, companies have every interest in monitoring market shifts and adapting their product mix to continue to satisfy demand. Part of what they have learned in recent years is that customers seek solutions tailored to their needs. It is no longer enough to focus on producing quality products to make a sale.

There is much more inside, so get a copy tailored to your company’s profile now :wink:

Get your customized whitepaper on modularity

Talk to you soon:-)

Diana is a member of the Industrial Equipment industry team.


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Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.