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Innovation was United States and Western European centered for many years. The innovation process has changed when we consider countries around the world like China, India and Brail. Jatin DeSai, CEO of The DeSai Group shared with me his thoughts about the internationalization of innovation.
1. Is innovation different around the world?
Yes, to a certain extent. Two examples are China and India. China has a production focus. They want to be the world’s most innovative for manufacturing plants. India has a service focus. They want to be the most innovative in back office, integration and processes. They are reinventing business processes and technologies to create new solutions.
2. What countries are the most innovative? Why?
The US is still the most innovative in many ways. It is far ahead in R&D. By definition you cannot innovate unless you are doing pure research. The US needs to invest more in R&D to keep its advantage as other countries are spending more than ever before to try and close the gap. US Companies are also spending more by setting up R&D in other countries such as India, Israel, and Brazil. This will create interesting tension, opportunities and challenges for US in the future.
Other countries approach innovation on an industry basis. Scandinavia and Norway, in particular, focus on solar, green and sustainability. They are very good at building Eco systems. That is driven by their focus on systems, design, quality, and sustainability.
Germany was an early high quality manufacturer. The machining precision and strong educational system for design has created a world-class Eco system there.
Brazil is focusing on several areas. Green approaches are used to build the largest electric grid for vehicles as well as the most ethanol stations. They have an advanced policy around the environment. Their other focus is Lifestyle and Fashion. There is lots of money flowing between Madison Avenue and Brazil. In the next 5-10 years Brazil will also be an interesting player in the entertainment industry.
3. What industries are the least innovative? Why?
Highly regulated industries are the least innovative. For example, Insurance, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals. Others like transportation, oil, energy and coal rely on old processes and technologies.
4. You work with diverse industries and multiple countries. How easily do your concepts translate to these different constituencies?
Our work is industry agnostic. Our framework works well across all of them. We have identified 30 boxes that any company in any industry can innovate. Therefore, it is only the company’s “game” (mindset) along with current strategic intent that will determine which boxes to innovate now and in the future. Best innovators innovate in almost every box. As an example, in Pharma, 6-7 years is the product development cycle while a toy company must constantly innovating with a 9-12 month cycle. Contrast those with a fertilizer company where half of the business is government subsidized. They may not use innovation to create a new product for 10-20 years.
Innovation is truly a worldwide phenomenon. Engage colleagues and vendors in other countries to learn how they are tackling innovation.
Those are the questions and answers. What do you think? Please comment below.
1. Do you feel innovation is growing, the same or decreasing around the world?
2. How do you engage colleagues and vendors to learn how they tackle innovation?
3. Have you changed your innovation process based upon the changing landscape in other countries or industries?