Catalyst Conversation: Should China Innovate?Dec 17


Should China Innovate?

Innovation frequently addresses actors for whom innovation is presumptively within reach. How can this business, or that individual, convert to a more innovative outlook and model?

Andrew Verstein and Leah Belsky lead GCG members through a discussion around adding innovation where innovation is supposedly lacking: the rapidly developing Developing World. The conversation focused to answer “how can an economy like China’s become innovative, and should it?”

China is a large and diverse country, which can try many strategies. It is thus an ideal laboratory to consider the various theories we have, or could have, proposed. Moreover, applying these methods to a putatively non-innovative market lets us look for information we may have missed in contemplating solutions for our own country our business.

The roundtable discussion included:

  • The Wages of Innovation and measuring innovation through patent ownership and that China is not an innovation leader. China is losing out on tremendous value by its failure to innovate.
  • In 2006, China outlined its 11th five-year plan. Central to the agenda: innovation. Are there any downsides to such a focus?
  • Does China need to improve protection of IP? After all, many foreign firms seem to resist technology transfers out of fear that their IP will not be preserved. Are these technology transfers important to innovation?
  • Is a wild IP market leading to a very Chinese variety of innovation?
  • The Chinese wish to support entrepreneurship, but can they mimic other models?
  • Obstacles of Innovation.
  • Are culture and incentives matched for innovation?
  • Can innovation thrive when dialog is stifled?

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