How will COVID-19 affect innovation investments?

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, how will the resulting economic crisis affect rates of investment in innovation and digital technologies? And what do emerging markets such as Egypt need to do to ensure that digital technologies continue to drive growth and job opportunities?

These are just some of the questions which Professor Soumitra Dutta, professor and former founding dean SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University, and chair of the board of directors of the Global Business School Network (GBSN), attempts to answer in the webinar “Technology and Innovation Competitiveness for a post-COVID World”, part of the Willard W. Brown International Business Leadership Webinar Series hosted last month by the AUC School of Business, and moderated by the School’s dean Professor Sherif Kamel.

Dutta explains that historically, investment in innovation usually mirrored the GDP growth rates. What he interestingly notes is that the data that is now available for the last decade, shows that in fact innovation investment rates have risen even more than GDP growth rates in most parts of the world. This trend is driven by the whole digital revolution that has largely accelerated during the last 10 years.

Dutta believes that this is a trend that will strongly continue across sectors. Based on his 20+ years experience of studying technology innovation trends across countries, Dutta emphasizes the vitality of human capital, as people are the source of ideas. Investing in education, including universities, is the best way to build human capital.

“The university acts as a magnet for talent and essentially creates that hub from where great talent can nurture themselves, develop themselves and can go and create wonderful new companies and wonderful new employment opportunities for others. I think universities and human talent is very critical.”

What is essentially important for less developed economies, according to Dutta, is the ‘environment’, referring to the regulations, the judicial system, the political stability, the rules and policies supporting business, all which help drive innovation technology and growth.

Watch the full webinar on this link:


Dutta is a professor of management and former founding dean of the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, New York. Currently, he serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Business School Network, a Washington DC-based non-profit organization which helps emerging markets to improve their management capacities.

He is also the founder of the Global Innovation Index, an annual report published by INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization which ranks countries around the world along multiple variables based on their levels of innovation and technology competitiveness. It is considered one of the world’s most influential reports on technology and innovation policy.

The Willard W. Brown International Business Leadership Series brings global business leaders to share their knowledge and expertise with the AUC School of Business and Egypt’s business community on how to navigate the precarious but potentially exciting opportunities of a post-COVID world.



    Knowledge Partners


    School of Business
    American University in Cairo
    AUC Avenue – P.O. Box 74
    New Cairo 11835

    Copyrights © 2017 The American University in Cairo School of Business • All Rights Reserved

    Copyrights © 2017 The American University in Cairo School of Business • All Rights Reserved. Designed by Indigo.

    Copyrights © 2022 The American University in Cairo School of Business • All Rights Reserved.  Designed by Indigo.