Leapfrogging involves adopting a new technology directly, and skipping over the earlier, middling versions that predated it. This is epitomized by the sudden proliferation of mobile phones in the developing world. Fixed-line networks were poor or non-existent in many developing countries because these required a titanic infrastructure, so the telecom companies there have leapfrogged straight to mobile phones, instead. The number of mobile phones now far outnumbers the number of fixed-line telephones in China, India and sub-Saharan Africa. By their very nature, mobile networks are far easier, faster and cheaper to deploy than fixed-line networks.

Incandescent light bulbs, introduced in the late 1870s, are slowly being displaced in the developed world by more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs), in applications from traffic lights to domestic lighting. LEDs could, however, have an even greater efficacy in parts of the developing world that lack mains power and electric lighting altogether. LEDs’ greater energy efficiency makes it possible to run them nocturnally from batteries charged by solar panels diurnally. So there is the prospect of another leapfrog, as the rural poor skip over centralised electric grids and straight to a world of energy-efficient appliances run using local “micropower” energy sources. Other leapfrogs include the embrace by China and Brazil of open-source software, and China’s plan to build a series of “eco-cities” from scratch based on new green technologies.

Being behind the bleeding edge of technological development can nowadays, actually be a good thing! It means that early versions of a technology, which have been erratic, unreliable or otherwise inferior, can be avoided. America, for example, was the first country to adopt colour television, which explains why American Television Sets look stagnated : consumers won’t keep on buying newer models every now and then. Other countries that came to the technology later, had to adapt to an advanced paradigm in TVs, and ensuant to this one could see more sophisticated TVs in these countries .

It’s believed that people all over the world that have never owned a PC might get their first computer in the form of a handheld. Why not? A consumer priced smartphone today has as much computing power as any PC did five years ago. But instead of a huge desktop box you have a smartphone you can slip into your pocket.

Leapfrog technologies can also spread faster, because within the designing company they do not face pugnacity from the managers of the entrenched systems. And leapfrogging straight to a green technology means there is no need to dispose of the obsolete, sullied one. By the time Chinese consumers started buying fridges in large numbers, for example, refrigeration technology no longer depended on ozone-destroying CFCs.

The lesson to be drawn from all of this is that it is wrong to assume that developing countries will follow the same technological course as developed nations. Some parts of the world may skip the desktop computers in favour of portable devices, just like an entire generation never saw a typewriter. Entire economies may even spring from agrarian straight to high-tech industries. That is what happened in Israel, which went from citrus farming to microchips; India, similarly, is doing its best to jump straight to a high-tech service economy. Its behemoth English speaking middle class has become the envy of outsourcing industry. Rwanda even hopes to turn itself into an African tech hub.

Those who anticipate and advocate leapfrogging can thrive as a result. Those who fail to see it coming, risk becoming antiquated. Kodak, for example, hit by the sudden rise of digital cameras in the developed world, wrongly assumed that it would still be able to sell old-fashioned film and film cameras in China instead. But the emerging Chinese middle classes leapfrogged straight to digital cameras—and even those are now outnumbered by camera-phones.

The very infrastructure that enabled American merchants to accept credit cards before any other place in the world, has now become an albatross; other countries that never developed one have now leapfrogged directly to cell phones as the payment device. Its like the need to run new trains on the old tracks. If one starts with a clean slate, it is beautiful. That’s why Toyota and other carmakers are killing American and European cars , they don’t have the legacy cost.

Mobile Operators who haven’t made the jump from 2G to 3G could benefit from early 4G adoption as a leap-frog strategy, thus providing significant performance enhancements for data services. Thus they can obviate entire time, energy and resources of commissioning 3G services and reap a harvest from the state of the art 4G services.

Word – Watch



Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; make fit for, or change to suit a new purpose; adapt or conform oneself to new or different conditions

Synonyms : adjust

  • Advocate


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; speak, plead, or argue in favour of; push for something

Other Meaning(s) : noun a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea; a lawyer who pleads cases in court;

Synonyms : exponent, counsel, counselor, counsellor, counselor-at-law, pleader, preach, recommend, urge

  • Agrarian


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; relating to rural matters

Synonyms : agricultural, farming

  • Albatross


Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; something that hinders or handicaps

Other Meaning(s) : noun large web-footed birds of the southern hemisphere having long narrow wings; noted for powerful gliding flight; (figurative)

Synonyms : mollymawk, millstone

  • Antiquted


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; something that has become out of fashion or usage

Synonyms : obsolete

  • Behemoth


Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a person of exceptional importance and reputation; someone or something that is abnormally large and powerful

Synonyms : colossus, giant, heavyweight, titan, goliath, monster

  • Conform


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; be similar, be in line with; adapt or conform oneself to new or different conditions

Synonyms : adjust, adapt

  • Deploy


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to distribute systematically or strategically

Synonyms : marshal

  • Descry


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; catch sight of

Synonyms : spot, espy, spy

  • Diurnally


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; during the day time

Synonyms : day time-active

  • Diodes


Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; an electronic device that has two electrodes and is used to convert alternating current to direct current

Synonyms : electronic current converter

  • Efficacy


Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; capacity or power to produce a desired effect

Synonyms : effectiveness, potency

  • Ensuant


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; happening as a consequence

Synonyms : consequent

  • Entrenched


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; established firmly and securely;

Synonyms : implanted


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; liable to sudden unpredictable change; likely to perform unpredictably; having no fixed course

Synonyms : mercurial, temperamental


  • Epitomized


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to be a highly representative example of a type, class or characteristic, e.g. This incident epitomizes all that is wrong with modern society

Synonyms : exemplify


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to gain as a result of special effort.

Other Meaning(s) : Noun; the season for gathering crops; the gathering of a ripened crop; the consequence of an effort or activity; the yield from plants in a single growing season; verb remove from a culture or a living or dead body, as for the purposes of transplantation; gather, as of natural products

Synonyms : crop, reap

  • Leapfrogging


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; jumping over something

Synonyms : jumping

  • Middling


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; lacking exceptional quality or ability

Other Meaning(s) : adverb to a moderately sufficient extent or degree; noun any commodity of intermediate quality or size (especially when coarse particles of ground wheat are mixed with bran)

Synonyms : mediocre

  • Nocturnally


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; done during the night

Synonyms : nightly

  • Obsolete


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; old; no longer in use or valid or fashionable; no longer in use

Synonyms : superannuated, disused

  • Obviate


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; make something unnecessary.

Synonyms : deflect, avert

  • Paradigm


Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the generally accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a given time; a standard or typical example;

Other Meaning(s) : systematic arrangement of all the inflected forms of a word; the class of all items that can be substituted into the same position (or slot) in a grammatical sentence (are in paradigmatic relation with one another)

Synonyms : prototype, image

  • Paradoxically


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adverb; in an illogical manner

Synonyms : contradictorily

  • Predated


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; happened before something else

Synonyms : preceded

  • Proliferation


Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; production in massive quantities

Synonyms : escalation

  • Pugnacity


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; noun a natural disposition to be hostile

Synonyms : aggressiveness, belligerence

  • Reap


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; gather, as of natural products; get or derive

Synonyms : harvest, glean, draw

  • Stagnated


Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; stand still; be idle; exist in a changeless situation

Other Meaning(s) : cease to flow; stand without moving; cause to stagnate

Synonyms : idle, laze


  • Sullied


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; dirty or stained

Synonyms : besmirched, stained, tainted

  • Thrive


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; verb gain in wealth; grow stronger

Synonyms : prosper, fly high, flourish, boom, get ahead, expand

  • Titanic


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; of great force or power or size

Other Meaning(s) : consisting of or forming human or animal figures

Synonyms :

  • Unwieldy


Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; difficult to work or manipulate; difficult to use or handle or manage because of size or weight or shape; lacking grace in movement or posture

Other Meaning(s) : consisting of or forming human or animal figures

Synonyms : unmanageable, gawky, clumsy, clunky, ungainly



Leave a Comment