The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends (McKinsey)

In this exclusive extract from their forthcoming book, the leaders of McKinsey Global Institute describe how four fundamental disruptive trends—urbanization, technology, demographics, and globalization—are changing the world more rapidly and profoundly than most executives comprehend. Good reading for leaders in academia, government and industry.

US Losing R&D Edge (2015 MIT Study)

MIT authors warn government is spending ever-smaller share of budget on basic research. “Though the U.S. leads the world in total R&D outlays, Europe and Asia have been raising their government investment. The Battelle Memorial Institute, a basic-research lab, and R&D Magazine estimated in 2013 that China would spend more than $600 billion annually on R&D by the early 2020s, making it the world’s biggest such investor. The same report estimated that U.S. R&D spending would total $465 billion, or 2.8% of gross domestic product, in 2014. For China, spending was pegged at $284 billion, or 2% of GDP.”

Read the WSJ article here. Download the MIT report hereThe U.S. spent 9.1% of the federal government’s annual budget on R&D in 1968. Today the percentage has shrunk to 3.6%.

Google Announces its Project FI (long-rumored wireless phone service)

Here’s how it works: for $20 a month you get all the basics (talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage in 120+ countries), and then it’s a flat $10 per GB for cellular data while in the U.S. and abroad. 1GB is $10/month, 2GB is $20/month, 3GB is $30/month, and so on. Since it’s hard to predict your data usage, you’ll get credit for the full value of your unused data. Let’s say you go with 3GB for $30 and only use 1.4GB one month. You’ll get $16 back, so you only pay for what you use.

I think I can move providers! More here.