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Pathways to Innovation

Pathways to Innovation


As Asia’s population continues to grow, demand on the infrastructure also increases.  Energy, sustainability, food production, and healthcare are all important areas where innovation is needed.  At this critical stage of population growth and demand, finding pathways to encourage innovation is more important than ever before.


Environmental Stability


Perhaps the most important focus of innovation should be an effort for sustainable and renewable energy.  Southeast Asia has a market for renewable energy that is ripe for innovation.  It’s focus is slowly turning toward energy sources that are renewable; and in Indonesia, the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gases, renewable energy has the opportunity to jump-start local economies.  As populations continue to grow, a major cause for concern is feeding the growing population in a way that is both sustainable and affordable.


Emphasis on regional trade and the innovation of small-scale sustainable food production is key.  For innovation to be possible, governments should focus on implementing programs that strengthen social services programs, thus improving the availability of food at state and local levels.  Another key ingredient in sustainable and innovative food production is ensuring that farmers have all that’s needed to improve soil health while protecting biodiversity and maintaining natural resources of soil and water.


Education Models


Of course, to ensure continuing innovation, education programs must be replicable, sustainable, and transferable beyond where they were created.  In particular, Asian countries should provide a platform to encourage creativity, especially in science, engineering, and math.  Governments across the country are devising ways to support research and universities by encouraging higher enrollment in hard sciences.  In China, government investment into educational programs is at an all-time high with a six-fold increase from 1997 – 2005.


However, the investment of monies into educational systems isn’t the only aspect that Asia should be focusing on.  More and more, Asian youth are traveling abroad for higher education.  Further, many of these new college graduates choose to stay in their adoptive countries as they begin their careers.  A pathway to innovation can only come when there is readily available talent to employ.  Focusing on keeping youth in Asia to attend universities is key, but finding a way to indulge them to come back to their home countries and stay is an ongoing issue that must be addressed.


As the global economy continues to undergo major change, industries and governments will need to come together to promote creativity and innovation – especially in cultures that are considered rigid and traditional.  Focusing on education and enticing graduates to stay in their home country, or return, is the key to success in innovation.