My sense is that, if I was to do the ranking myself, what I would say is that China’s ranking in innovation has pretty much remained unchanged over the past few years.
What that means is that China certainly has the inventive capacity to be one of the frontrunners and leaders in innovation. But more inventive capacity isn’t really enough. You need not only the ability to create new ideas, but the ability to commercialize those ideas as well.
And the reason I think China remains steady in terms of its innovative performance is that we have yet to see a real breakout in terms of large global organizations which have brands and channels of distribution to be able to really commercialize the inventions that can be made here…
And if you look at the science and PhD students, a lot of research in the West relies on these Chinese graduate students. They are doing it in the United States and Europe.
So by every indication, we know there’s incredibly creative talent in this country. There always has been. China’s history as an inventor is legendary. And you just don’t lose that. It doesn’t go away. That’s one thing.
But the reform has been going on for 33 years. When we look at who are the big global players, we see Haier, Huawei, Lenovo, maybe two or three others you could speculate about, depending on what your perspective is.
Bill Fischer is the author of a recent book on innnovation,The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen.