Looking back at the first six years of the GTCI and comparing available data across time, one cannot escape the conclusion that the gap separating the talent champions from the rest has been growing rather than diminishing. The statistical correlation between income per capita and talent performance remains high, while some regions seem to be facing continued issues
Talent issues have become a mainstream concern for firms, nations, and cities.
The mere fact that the GTCI’s database has been increasing in coverage and quality is just one piece of evidence demonstrating that all types of organisations (private and public, governmental or not) have been devoting significant resources and energy to identifying ways to measure talent and its related dimensions. But, more importantly, the reverse causality link is gaining visibility and importance. This means that analyses and assessments are not carried out only to measure how better-endowed and richer economies foster talent, but more and more to measure the impact of talent performance on other broad objectives such as growth, job creation, and innovation.
Entrepreneurial talent can both broaden and reduce inequalities.
Entrepreneurial talent plays a vital role in smaller firms (which are critical to job creation, especially in developing economies) and start-ups (which are critical to innovation). Yet analyses such as the GTCI’s, as well as recent evidence from the business and economic scenes, show that entrepreneurial talent also has critical roles to play in larger organisations and even in governments. All components of the innovation ecosystem now need to enhance their efforts to attract, nurture, and retain more entrepreneurial talent. This talent should be seen as a state of mind that can be grown, improved, and nurtured with a mix of policies, incentives, and management approaches that should be adapted to the specific context of individual countries.
New approaches are emerging to stimulate entrepreneurial talent.
Such approaches include radically different management systems, some of which have not originated in the countries with the highest GTCI rankings. These approaches recognise that entrepreneurial talent is not an homogenous or fungible resource: an efficient entrepreneurial talent strategy needs to reflect the typical stages of a firms’ life cycle (start-up, scale-up, up to major player in a particular sector or geography), and requires different new tactics at every step. Such tactics have yet to be fully reflected in the curricula and practices of existing educational institutions, including business schools.
Digitalisation and globalisation will increase the role of entrepreneurial talent.
Because the future of work will be radically affected by the rapid spread of artificial intelligence (itself fed by the internet of things, big data, and deep learning), the proportion of salaried workers will continue to be reduced and the number of free agents to grow. Simultaneously, new business models (especially in a platform economy context) will emerge, triggering new ways to extract and share value from information. Such a fluid business and economic context will clearly favour the countries and organisations that have the ability to mobilise relevant entrepreneurial talents.
Cities will play increasingly central roles as entrepreneurial talent hubs.
Because entrepreneurial talent is strongly related to innovation, the building and management of dynamic (and open) ecosystems will be an increasingly important part of building an entrepreneurial culture and state of mind. The critical role already played by cities and regions to set up incubators and accelerators will become more and more relevant. Currently, most cities tend to build talent strategies around similar criteria (quality of life, connectivity, and sustainability, e.g.); few are targeting specialised talent linked to particular local issues or typical municipal issues (waste management, transport, and inclusion, among others) but this should be expected to emerge rapidly, in particular around smart cities’ strategies. There, too, entrepreneurial talent will be a key asset.