Tom Doctoroff

Why is China lacking creativity and a developed service sector, Adweek asks advertisement guru Tom Doctoroff, author of “What Chinese Want. The current lack of political reform is draining the country’s creative resources, Tom Doctoroff argues.

Tom Doctoroff

They understand what innovation is and they admire it tremendously. Steve Jobs is a hero because of the fact [that] he had a different vision and he pursued it and won big. The problem is that the economic and social structures don’t encourage it. So will we ever see a Chinese entrepreneur that is truly innovative or a Chinese company known for innovation? I don’t want to say never, but I don’t see how this can happen on a broad basis unless you have significant political reform. You need a government that is impartial and has the mechanisms to protect individuals’ interests involving everything from judiciary to corporate governance to how banking loans are determined to transparency in bookkeeping to a more rational tax regime.

Why are we not seeing more of the development of a service sector in China?
Two reasons—one is macro, the other is human. The macro reason is that any time an industry affects the broad masses, it will be controlled by the state. So anything having to do with financial services, travel, even tourism is subject to the inherently noncompetitive commercial ethos the state advances. The second is bottom up and the comfort people have with paradigms and scripts and their fear of challenging conventional wisdom. A stewardess or hotel attendant would have to have the confidence to go off script, to really probe into what their customers’ needs are and give a solution even if it might not be on the approved checklist of solutions.

More in Adweek.

Tom Doctoroff is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting of conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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