A strategy? What is that?

A strategy? What is that?

Authorities always name Turkey as a country with great potential. It does have great potential. However it cannot realize it. This is what happens when you have millions of talented youngsters but don’t have a grand strategy for what direction your industry should go.

Years ago when Jack Welch came to Turkey he was asked how he saw Turkey as a manager. He replied: “When I think about Israel, military and agriculture technologies comes to mind, when I think about the U.S., entrepreneurship and Internet technologies comes to my mind, Japan means high-end consumer products, but when I think about Turkey nothing comes to mind. You just try to do too many things at once.” I agree; Turkey is not focused. Because of the lack of strategy in technology management, Turkey could never be a country that is considered to be a leader in technology in the past and if we go on like this, we will never be one of the top five technology producers.

Once in a while our prime minister decides it would be good to have some “national” product and the leaders of that industry try to realize it. The latest hype is to have a national car brand. Beforehand it was the national plane, the national fast train, the national cell phone, the national PC, etc.

It is naturally good to have national brands. I merely disagree with the ways in which we map a “strategy” and create a “plan” and “execute” it. The quote marks are to underline that in Turkey we never do these properly. There is a saying that goes, “If you want a perfect result, start like a Turk and finish like a German.” We are very excited when we start things, but in time we lose interest. In the end nothing happens. Erdoğan wants to save more than $10 billion annually via these national brands. However do he and the ministers take necessary steps to realize their own dreams? Unfortunately they do not. Up until now all they have done is to put pressure on the private sector. In the national PC hype some producers that could not dismiss Erdoğan’s kind request said they would create a national brand. It has been almost five years now. Nothing is on the horizon. It probably will be the same with the national car. Some producers will have to say yes and will try to postpone it as best they can.

In the meantime Turkish universities create their own labs and take on the world in bio-technology and nano-technology and the government doesn’t even talk about them. Furthermore via Internet censorship the government shoots itself in the foot as censorship kills innovation and makes it difficult for new tech start-ups to flourish. The damage they do via censorship is much more than $10 billion but how can we make them understand?

We have to focus in some areas that Turkey can make a difference and try to get the technological leadership if we want to create new jobs and big revenues. For that we need a strategy and we need to execute plans step by step from education to manufacturing to subsidies