Thursday, August 6, 2009

Asia Poised for Innovation

A chat with friend and advisor Mr. Martin Ertl, CIO Bombardier Transportation highlighted that the most recent patent applications for alternate energy and/or clean energy have been coming out of China and at a steady pace and massive rate.

The following article from the McKinsey Quarterly, "Asia and the elements of innovation" by Eric Drexler could not have been more apropos to my conversation with Mr. Ertl.  The article discusses some of the key differentiators of Weatern and Asian cultures and why Asia looks to take exponential lead in innovation.  The article states:

"To become a world-class center of technological innovation, a society must have three basic elements:
• drive—a culture that supports change and hungers for it
• human capital—the personal abilities that make world-class technology possible
• a capacity for mobilization—a society’s ability to pursue ambitious new goals

Having personally experienced education in South Asia, I can attest to the following, though it is changing:

"Cultures differ radically in their attitudes toward education. In the rising societies of Asia, education is a top priority, far above, for example, sports. During national exam season, when students study for the test that will determine their future in higher education, I found that Indian newspapers carry science and mathematics quizzes that would stump most US college graduates. Recent physics tests given to US and Chinese students entering comparable technically oriented universities produced distributions of scores that had little overlap. In Chinese societies, scholarly students have a status among their peers like that of athletes in the United States and run little risk of being marginalized, ridiculed, or beaten. In India, I found that students chase after the autographs, not of entertainers, but of scientists."

Read the complete article here.

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