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What is an Innovation Ecosystem and How Does it Apply to Asia?

What is an Innovation Ecosystem and How Does it Apply to Asia?

An ecosystem is defined as the biological community of interacting organisms and the physical environment in which they live. An Innovation Ecosystem is much the same: the inter-organization, political, economic, environment, and technological processes in which we conduct business. So how does an Innovation Ecosystem apply to Asia?

For any ecosystem to survive, all of its components must be working together in complete harmony. To create a successful innovation ecosystem means to create a culture, business strategy, and practices that foster a culture of innovation. In Asia’s conservative yet technologically advanced culture, this can be a challenge.

How to Foster an Innovative Ecosystem in Asia

Fostering an innovation ecosystem is as much about what a business should do as what it shouldn’t do. Asia’s local governments are currently investing more money into research and development which is helping to begin establishment of an innovative environment. Businesses need to be able to measure the results of their innovations and willing to make adjustments along the way.

Innovation is always driven by the human capital and talent available in the area. With this, Asia has a leg up on their competitors. Some students choose to go abroad to the United States or Europe for their post-secondary education. Many of those students establish careers in different countries, learning the roles of their respective positions. Post-education, these professionals may return to their home countries, flooding the market with real-world talent. In this way, Asia is already establishing an innovative ecosystem.

Framework of an Innovation Ecosystem

The framework for establishing an innovation ecosystem in Asia should really begin with its leaders – both in business and politics. Luckily, Asia has a strong base of scientifically minded leaders. Both its Premier and President have advanced degrees in Engineering. Because of strong, educated leadership, Asia is home to some of the most innovative cities in the world, keeping with the framework of innovation. Singapore ranks number one in the list, followed by Pusan, South Korea and Osaka.

An innovation ecosystem should establish the rules, policies, processes, and fail-safes so employees are free to focus on what really matters: innovation itself. Without these processes in place, employees can become overwhelmed or even defeated and feel that they are not in a business where innovation is accepted or welcomed. Again, it is up to the leaders of the business to quell these false notions. Some of the best innovations can come from employees whose main role is in a different business unit.

The Benefits of an Innovation Ecosystem

By establishing an ecosystem of innovation, businesses affect and encourage collaboration between employees and business units. Collaboration invites open innovation. Open innovation can have a positive impact and contribute significantly to a company’s bottom line. When open innovation becomes the routine rather than just a policy on paper, it becomes the norm.