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Asia’s Innovation Challenge

Asia’s Innovation Challenge


For centuries, the United States has been the world leader of innovation and progression.  But now China and other Asian countries are testing that dominance.  Instead of shying away from the challenge or fearing the competition, the United States should embrace the challenge.


This isn’t the first time such an innovation challenge has been issued for the United States.  In the 1950’s, Russia launched the Sputnik Satellite and the era of the Space Race began with our biggest fears surrounding being technologically surpassed by the Soviet Union.   In post-war America, imports from Asia created fears that we would lose the top spot in global dominance, but throughout it all one thing persisted:  the United States maintained their position as global leader as new products were created and launched.


The move to innovative leader for Asian countries, China in particular, is really no surprise.  Since 2011, the number of patents produced by China has been a matter of government reforms and policies.  With stiff requirements in place, China quickly became the world’s number on patent filer.  China is also set to outspend the US on GDP in Research and Development.  Investments into applied sciences, life sciences, and renewable energies in Asia continues to increase and is set to surpass the United States in only a few years. China is actually set to take the top spot in production of solar and wind technologies.  Already, it has some of the world’s biggest companies that provide components for renewable technologies.


Perhaps the biggest advantage to America and other countries is how multi-nationals are received.  The recent merger between General Motors and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporate is a good example that cooperation between companies can breed success.  By taking GM’s Buick GL8 minivan and modifying it for the Chinese market, the vehicle has been successful among China’s business executives.  Japan is getting in on the innovation boom by dedicating trillions of dollars in tax breaks to companies who excel at technologies like wind and solar power, bio-tech, and low pollution air travel.


We’re seeing that innovation and creativity is fast replacing distribution and manufacturing in terms of growth in Asia.  By using innovation to create a slew of new products, Asia is wise to put innovation at the forefront of their growth.  The plan to create products, sustainability, and economic growth via innovation is one that is vastly different from past models and this perhaps, is Asia’s biggest innovation challenge.  Innovation comes easily to those who have managed to work in different fields and markets, just by virtue of experiencing diversity in action.  Culturally, many Asian executives do not have this kind of experience and innovation is hard to accept, let alone encourage.


Innovation teamed across nations and cultures will do better than innovations coming from only one source.  Cooperation and diversity always brings about the biggest breakthroughs and that’s no different when it comes to innovation and the challenges it presents.