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Creating an Innovation Corporate Culture in China

Creating an Innovation Corporate Culture in China

In the March 2010 issue of Eurobiz Magazine, an article by Bill Dodson entitled “Creating an Innovation Corporate Culture in China” discusses product and process innovation, and how Chinese corporate culture does not embrace either of them. What can Chinese organizations do to cultivate an innovation culture?

A British engineering manager at a factory in China named Michael said, “They [my staff] won’t think outside the channel. I keep hearing, “it’s not in my job description!”

This statement clearly shows how hard it is to encourage Chinese workers to be creative. It is a big challenge for Western-invested companies to build innovation culture in China.

So, what are the factors that affect learning of Chinese people?

1. Making mistakes is considered disgraceful

Qian Xuesan, a Chinese rocket scientist who died in the age of 97 asked, “Why does China produce so many clever people, but so few geniuses?” This question has gone unanswered. Many say that it can be blamed to the Chinese’s education system. Why? One Chinese student said. “Professors don’t have office hours [in which students can ask help with difficult subject matter]. If you ask the professor a question, he tells you in front of others you are stupid.” In fact, the slightest of the mistakes bring disgrace and that inhibits learning.

2. Family and peer pressure

Another thing that discourages learning is family and peer pressure. Many children are forced to do things a certain way just ‘coz their peers are doing the same way. That really inhibits their innovation and creativity. This is what moulds the child and the face of the society.

3. Lack of creativity and fresh thoughts

Many Chinese people basically do not know how to engage in with thoughts and how to try them. It is to toss them or to develop them. The most common thing is they basically let them go if there seems no way to make it work in real life.

Product innovation is different from just being creative. Procedure development should be a constant activity, built into the personality of the organization. A Chinese HR manager near Shanghai said that his company advantage system in place for four or five years now in which workers are given acceptance for making truly modern changes in their methods.

Almost all Chinese companies are hierarchical. They are run by a boss, where in everyone follows his every word and decision. No one makes a suggestion, and basically, they just follow who ever the boss of the company is.

Innovation should be encouraged. Information and ideas should be voiced out. Thinking outside your job description is a must. It is a challenge to apply innovation, but it is totally worth it.

Note: The preceding is a summary of an article found though our research, and is provided here with editorial comment for members only. Please see the full article at the following link for full original content:

The New Asia Innovation Team