Archive for June, 2011
During my most recent visit to Beijing (May 2011), I visited Z Park and an incubator, Innovation Works, created and managed by Kai-Fu Lee’s with whom I had a good meeting. Like many other observers, I am amazed to see the resources and energy devoted to creating new enterprises, and the ability to pool key resources. Of course, the US still leads, by a lot, in global innovation, as do a number of European countries and Japan. The questions that remain open in my mind are whether the obstacles that the EU and US are putting on its own innovators (in particular the over-patenting of software and basic science and lobby-drive–as opposed to policy-driven—regulatory efforts) will slow them enough, so that others will catch up. China has issues of its own, in particular an educational system that favors very hard workers but fails to adequately promote individual creativity. The decoupling of individual freedom and individual innovation, in what Robert Reich has terms authoritarian capitalism, is a fascinating development. Typically, this has led to small or incremental inventions, but not big, transformational leaps.
Brazil and India have cards to play and I am looking forward to my upcoming trips to Bangalore and Rio in 2012 to see what’s changed there. Innovation is a global game. Proper policy may help.